In her second book of satirical commentary, Barbara Ehrenreich subjects the 'aughts to the most biting and incisive satire of her career. She points to shortfalls in the US's standards of health care, employment, education, immigration, and personal liberties. She also looks beyond those issues to the great inadequacies in the modern American standard of living. Taking the measure of what America has left with after the cruelest decade in memory, Ehrenreich finds lurid extremes all around. While members of the moneyed elite can buy congressmen, many in the working class can barely buy lunch. While a wealthy minority obsessively consumes cosmetic surgery, the poor often go without health care for their children. And while the corporate C-suites are now nests of criminality, the less fortunate are fed a diet of morality, marriage, and abstinence. Ehrenreich’s antidotes are as sardonic as they are spot-on: pet insurance for your kids; Salvation Army fashions for those who can no longer afford Wal-Mart; and boundless rage against those who have given us a nation scarred by deepening inequality, corroded by distrust, and shamed by its official cruelty. With research and wit, Ehrenreich dissects and humanizes the social problems that plague the U.S. as a whole, even though it remains a nation divided.
Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of fourteen books, including Dancing in the Streets and The New York Times bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harper’s and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine.