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The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  113 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Wal-Mart is the world's largest company and it sets the standard--both social and commercial--for a huge swath of the global economy. In this probing investigation, historian Nelson Lichtenstein shows how the company's success has spread evangelical Protestantism into the workplace, made South China an American workshop, and pushed American politics to the right. At the sa ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Picador (first published 2009)
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Michelle
The first section is the background on Sam Walton and all his innovations in retail. It was a little dry. Then, there are chapters on the anti-union stance, the factories in China, and the international spread of Wal-Mart, among others. It was interesting and informative, but not the most engaging. I kept thinking about the New Yorker and how they must have done a (much more interesting) profile on Walton and/or Wal-Mart.
Andy Marton
Dec 05, 2014 Andy Marton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nelson Lichtenstein is telling us something we already know: Wal-Mart is evil. Its labor practices are horrendous and illegal, its wages can barely feed its workers, and its business practices turn small towns into ghost towns.

Lichtenstein goes so much further than telling us, in great detail, the depth of Wal-Mart's evil. He gives a fascinating history of Wal-Mart's rise, Sam Walton's genius in creating the corporation (as I much as I despise the man, I do have to admire Walton's keen business
...more
Bryce
Jan 23, 2010 Bryce rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I believe that criticisms need to be not only substantiated, but also based on premises that are either established or understood. Based on that belief, I did not think this was a good book. The author cited criticisms of Wal-Mart about how they were anti-union or other supposed problems. But the author never took it to the next step of showing why being anti-union fulfilled his premise that Wal-Mart was bad. I, for one, was glad that Wal-Mart had so much success against the unions. The author t ...more
Rj
Jan 31, 2015 Rj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the reading front I have been reading Nelson Lichtenstein's The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart created a brave new world of Business (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2009). Lichtenstein a professor of history does a really good job of contextualing the rise of Wal-Mart and how their business practices fit into a larger history of retailing, economics and North America. I have read most of the books written about Wal-Mart, with most being either indictments or celebrations of the company. Licht ...more
Laurel Cornell
Fascinating presentation by this author on Fresh Air today. He seems very even-handed. Great sources of data. Says that, yes, Walmart does offer lower prices, but only on 20% of the things we buy. The other 80% --- health care, housing, transportation, eduction --- we can't buy there, so their lower prices have no overall effect on much of the economy. And their workers are hurt, because the low wages they offer make it very difficult for the workers to buy these necessities. Walmart has also el ...more
Erin
Jun 17, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Very interesting and I learned a lot. Would never/do never shop at Walmart but it was interesting to learn how they got their start, grew, and many of their evil tactics. The way they treat their labor has been terrible since the very beginning! An entertaining as well as educational read.
Richard
Nov 12, 2014 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: project-2014


This is a balanced history and a fair appraisal regarding Wal-Mart itself, the influence it has regarding all direct and indirect sectors of the retail industry, and the company's direct and indirect impact on the world in general. Want a better understanding of most things Wal-Mart?…This is the book to read…


John Rivera
Nov 09, 2011 John Rivera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great and easy to read work. The author does not offer another typical Walmart-bashing book that the market seems flooded with. Instead he offers a critique of the transformation of the modern retail industry with Walmart at the epicenter and also provides a criticism of Walmart's approach to labor relations.
Zan
Nov 26, 2011 Zan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a rich, over-educated, elitist, white person - so naturally I never shop at Walmart.

After finishing this book, I can now articulate the baseless assumptions I hold against this retailer.

[hint: They're not that base-less.]
Zachary
May 17, 2011 Zachary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an even-handed indictment of the retail monster that dominates our economy. the new definitive book on wal*mart
Margaret Dillon
Aug 27, 2009 Margaret Dillon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This finely researched book gave me even more reasons not to shop at Walmart.
Evan Thomas
A decent history of Wal-Mart's innovation and impact on the global economy.
Bob
Aug 22, 2009 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Useful history/analysis of the Wal*Mart phenonemon, if you're interested in that sort of thing.
Hillary
wow. worth the read.
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Nelson Lichtenstein is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy.
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