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This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  1,280 Ratings  ·  212 Reviews
America in the ’aughts—hilariously skewered, brilliantly dissected, and darkly diagnosed by the bestselling social critic hailed as “the soul mate”* of Jonathan Swift

Barbara Ehrenreich’s first book of satirical commentary, The Worst Years of Our Lives, about the Reagan era, was received with bestselling acclaim. The one problem was the title: couldn’t some prophetic fact-c
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Hardcover, 235 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Metropolitan Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Heidi
Jun 25, 2008 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Ehrenreich has this amazing ability to look critically at social, political, education and economic policy and point out exactly where the policiy falls short of meeting its supposed goal. I think this is an important book for people to read because, even though each chapter is short and doesn't list a whole host of numbers and statistics (although she sights, of course, for your researching if you're so inclined) she really gets you think about the flip side of the current administration's poli ...more
Rebecca
Jan 02, 2009 Rebecca rated it did not like it
I really liked Nickel and Dimed. It was original, clever, frightening and a total page-turner. I read it while restocking the shelves at a university bookstore, getting paid $6.50 an hour. It resonated.
But this book? What happened? Here's how I imagine it:

Publisher: we need another book from you.
Barbara: Ugh, but I'm so busy with my speaking schedule I haven't been working on anything new.
Publisher: we need it in three weeks.
Barbara: Hum, okay, I'll hobble together something from my blog, rand
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Rebecca
Jul 11, 2008 Rebecca rated it liked it
There’s no replacing the late, beloved pundit Molly Ivins and her ability to skewer the right with such great good humor, but Barbara Ehrenreich comes closest to filling the gap. In this collection of recent topical mini-essays, the author of the recent classic “Nickel and Dimed” targets the myriad issues our right-leaning government and corporate America use to distract us from those that could and should unite the country in righteous indignation. What should be uniting us, as Ehrenreich comes ...more
Traci
Aug 05, 2008 Traci rated it it was ok
I've read her other books- I liked them, but this one, not so much. I understand her intent- to make us aware of absurd CEO salaries, unfair employment practices to increase profit, millions that do not have health insurance, etc.- and those facts and figures, and stories were stunning. I agree that these are huge problems facing the American public today. They frustrate me, and they obviously frustrate her. But, I don't want to read a whole book of horrible scenarios and only have few plausible ...more
Carmen
May 28, 2015 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I read this I imagined Jonathan Swift smirking in approval. The author has a vicious,acerbic style entirely appropriate for her subject matter: why is america so plagued with selfish, greedy idiots? The standout essays were well researched but written with the easy gracefulness of someone used to dealing with human corruption and greed. My favorite piece could have been taken from swift himself: an essay on why children should be forced to work in sweatshops and factories(they are basically c ...more
Elyssa
Jun 23, 2008 Elyssa rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is comprised of short and witty essays and articles by the author of Nickel and Dimed, a book that I enjoyed. Barbara Ehrenreich is effective in illustrating all of the dysfunction of U.S. society, especially the struggles of the working poor and the middle class. Unfortunately, her essays sound like a series of rants with very few proposed solutions. I just don't see what good it does to talk about all that ails us and not recommend changes. As a result of reading this book, I am hype ...more
Sarah
Aug 16, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok
I started out really liking this book--what can I say, she pulled at my tender heartstrings when she bitched about the bloated overclass--but I'm a fan of citing sources and studies...and, unfortunately, I don't think that there is one footnote or citation in this book. Boo. That's journalistic research for ya!
Robert
Sep 28, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it
Barbara Ehrenreich is the kind of writer you might know about...and know her views in general...but may not have read. That's how it was for me until the last few days when I ripped through This Land is Their Land:Reports from a Divided Nation. She is what used to be called a liberal, not a bad word in my book, and she attacks the growing wealth divide in the U.S. with ferocity, humor, cutting wit, solid facts, and chilling anecdotes.

The style of this volume is one short, snappy chapter after an
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Amanda
Jul 01, 2010 Amanda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It pains me to say this, but Barbara Ehrenreich is no longer a journalist. Somewhere between "Nickel and Dimed" and this book, she crossed the line into punditry, taking a seat with Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann, no longer even holding up a pretense of objectivity. While I was intrigued by the premise of the book, which is supposed to tackle the subject of inequality in America, I found that the writing does not deliver. Instead of facts and statistics and information, I was bombarded with Barb ...more
Shinynickel
Feb 03, 2009 Shinynickel rated it it was ok
Once again I try to read a book of essays, and once again I am frustrated.

I think it's because I spend so much time online, and most popular essays are about the length of a really good blog post. Unlike blog posts, however, these essays lack any kind of linkage to provide context. When Ehrenreich wants to talk about something Rush Limbaugh said, I have to take her on faith. When she talks about increasing layoffs, etc, I have to take her on faith. I don't necessarily suspect her of lying, exac
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Helen
Feb 20, 2009 Helen rated it it was amazing
For those readers familiar with Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed” and “Bait and Switch”, Ehrenreich offers a different type book here. Rather than inserting herself into a typical working-class existence, through a series of essays she examines the current state of America and what it means for the average American. From corporate irresponsibility to prisoner abuse, Ehrenreich intensely scrutinizes the duplicity of American politics and culture. Much of what she has to say, in my humble opinion, i ...more
Paul
Oct 05, 2012 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: social-justice
When this book came out, it was most likely sometime in 2008 before the market hit the wall and all the big banks and other associated financial companies needed their now-famous bailout from the federal government. However, that doesn't mean that things weren't bad for everyone else beforehand, and this book is an attempt at documenting that.

The main point that Ehrenreich makes in her effort is that the preceding years have been hard, especially for those who are not CEOs of major corporations
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Kkraemer
Feb 19, 2017 Kkraemer rated it really liked it
Barbara Ehrenreich has long been a voice for those who are working so hard that they don't have time to raise their voice...at least to anyone who can help them. In this book, copyrighted in 2008 before the big crash, she includes many poignant chapters, the most interesting of which is titled "Can You Afford to Be Poor?"
In this chapter, she notes that there is a "ghetto two," a higher cost of living for low-income neighborhoods. This includes higher property tax rates (the basis for school fun
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Jason
Dec 26, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it
This is a collection of articles by Barbara Ehrenreich (of Nickel and Dimed fame), mostly dealing with the class divide in America and other related issues. To me this was a quick but refreshing read, reminding me why I'm a lifelong lefty, and articulating my beliefs much clearer than I could.

Here were some of the highlights for me...

- "Private health insurance is only for people who aren't likely ever to get sick. In fact, why call it 'insurance,' which normally embodies the notion of risk shar
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Chazzle
Aug 10, 2008 Chazzle rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who aren't happy unless they're sad
I'm cashing in my "political capital" and reviewing this book, even though I didn't read more than two thirds of the essays.

The book could have been titled The Audacity of Hope - NOT!!!. Perhaps you saw the movie Happyness, starring Will Smith, in which he couldn't catch a break in life for an unremitting two hours of torture at the theater. That movie's mood captures that despair of the essays in this book.

On the other hand, Ehrenreich makes some interesting points. I really liked the essay ca
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Emily
Jan 13, 2010 Emily rated it liked it
Barbara's book is a really good one. I give it 3.5 stars but round down because a) it's more a series of essays than a cohesive book. She makes a lot of great individual points which somewhat naturally go together, and I appreciate that she doesn't overwrite transitions, but still - book of essays; and b), perhaps the bigger reason, is that I can't recommend this book to any but my most liberal friends. Ehrenreich is a hardcore liberal. I like her because she is more or less consistent in her co ...more
Maria
Ehrenreich skewers the way that we look at America and it's culture. She points out the hypocrisies of our modern life. This is not a comfortable book to read but it would be a fabulous book for discussion. Since it was published in 2008 the president who gets the blame is W. I will have to look up her website to see what she thinks of our current one.

Why I started it: I needed a nonfiction book to clear my palate after the last teen novel that I listened to.

Why I finished it: This was a collect
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Joe Robles
Apr 23, 2010 Joe Robles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book about what's wrong with our country. Ehrenriech doesn't just write about what's wrong, but if you've read her previous books then you know she also lives it. Before Spurlock did 30 days Ehrenriech was working for minimum wage and trying to see if it was possible to actually survive on that (spoiler alert: you can't).

This book touches on several subjects including corporate greed, religion, gay marriage, and immigration. Her prose is biting and funny. She may be a grandma, b
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Danielle
Aug 21, 2008 Danielle rated it liked it
This book is really just a compilation of columns and short articles Ehrenreich has written for other publications collected together under topics such as the economy, politics, healthcare, and religion. Although I agree with a lot of her points, I don't agree with everything. But that's okay because it's always nice to get another viewpoint on things. A lot of the essays made me angry about things that have happened and are happening in this country and how we treat many of our citizens. It is ...more
Kyle Bohman
Aug 16, 2008 Kyle Bohman rated it it was ok
Didn't care much for this piece of literature. I was expecting another Nickel and Dimed, and this wasn't it. Each 3 page chapter just regurgitated facts that you could find on the internet about corruption in American. There was no story. I found it very difficult to make it through the chapters.
Lisa
Jul 17, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
Barbara Ehrenreich is the Michael Moore of print journalism. She tells it like it is, using statistics and facts accompanied by her always present wit. Whether it's gay marriage, abortion, low-wages or lack of health care, Ehrenreich will leave you educated and enraged.
Mary (BookHounds)
Jan 06, 2009 Mary (BookHounds) rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
This book of essays is so wonderfully written. Ehrenreich points out the truth about the government, social issues and life in general. Some of the essays about being poor in American are dead-on.
Thom Dunn
Anthology of columns. Appropriately sassy, but repetitive format.
Kerry
Oct 27, 2009 Kerry rated it liked it
Barbara, Barbara, Barbara. Oh howe I loved you so in Nickeled and Dimed. What happened?! This one you went a bit further off your rocker and were too left-wing & opinionated. Now, I'm well aware it's written in satirical form, but if you're going to spout such an opinion, you need to mix in more facts. Which she does here and there at points. And I gobbled those up like Turkey Lurkey Day dinner followed with the mind-challenge of Mah Jong.

BUUUUT, the fact that the characters in the new Miam
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Cameron
Aug 30, 2012 Cameron rated it liked it
I play my politics pretty close to the vest. I have political opinions, sure. But not only do I live in an area where my political leanings are leaning toward the shallow end of the majority, but I also hate to convince other people to think a certain way. So, this means that I have no response when questioned about my political beliefs. And, even though it makes me the worst political person in the world, I am ok with that.

So, this collection of very liberal-minded essays is, in essence, very a
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Kurt
Jul 23, 2011 Kurt rated it liked it
Your experience of this book will depend almost entirely on whether or not you already find Barbara Ehrenreich witty and insightful and fascinating. I do, so I enjoyed this collection of brief observations, but it would not have converted me if I had come to it as an Ehrenreich skeptic. The basic theme holding the book together is something like, "Life is really hard in the U.S. in the first decade of the new millenium," and Ehrenreich casts a wide net as she mocks big business, the health care ...more
Matt Escott
May 30, 2013 Matt Escott rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book, which is a collection of very short essays on a variety of topics, most of which relating to the economic and social inequality in America. In some of the essays, in particular the the ones relating to economic inequality, I could feel Ehrenreich's outrage and disgust. She satirically skewers some very twisted economic thinking, thinking which, as she frequently points out, often leads to immoral and absurd abuses of those less fortunate.

But at times I fel
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Jon
Jul 23, 2011 Jon added it
Barbara Ehrenreich's new book is a collection of short pieces about various aspects of American life today, divided into sections about general issues such as sex, medical care, economic inequality, and religion. To her credit, BE doesn't try to suggest that our problems could be solved by electing more Democrats (besides, when voters did just that in 2006, nothing changed, except maybe for the worse). BE isn't afraid to admit when she was previously wrong, as in her discussion of how the Abu Gh ...more
Laura
Jan 23, 2011 Laura rated it it was ok
I like the essay format for a change: she has a lot of ground to cover, and I like that I can read a few essays at a time and then put down the book for a while. She makes a lot of good points, as always, but I often felt that the snark (which I mostly didn't find all that funny) prevented her from getting very deep into the arguments both for and against some of the points she was making. Sometimes she's making observations about poignant or outrageous things, and not much argumentation was nee ...more
Lydia
Dec 21, 2008 Lydia rated it liked it
I had started reading "The Shock Doctrine" and found it to be too much over a holiday break. I was so enthralled by the first 16 pages, but wanted to truly put time into the book; so I switched to "This Land" since I need to send it to my daughter in Azerbaijan anyway.

I admire Ehrenreich's ability to structure 2-4 page pithy, often tongeu-in-cheek summaries of her interpretation of major global issues, although as an academician I must admit a certain bias in work with so many references and no
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Barbara Ehrenreich is an American journalist and the bestselling author of sixteen previous books, including the bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harpers and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time Magazine.

http://us.macmillan.com/author/barbar...
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“You still don't like the idea of gay marriage? Then, as my friend the economist Julianne Malveaux says: Don't marry a gay person. Case closed, problem solved.” 7 likes
“Just as welfare was said to "cause poverty," the experts may soon announce that Medicare causes baldness and that Social Security is a risk factor for osteoporosis: the correlations are undeniable.” 0 likes
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