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This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  1,391 ratings  ·  224 reviews
America in the 'aughts--hilariously skewered, brilliantly dissected, and darkly diagnosed by one of the country's most prominent social critics

Now in paperback, Barbara Ehrenreich's widely acclaimed This Land Is Their Land takes the measure of what we are left with after the cruelest decade in memory and finds lurid extremes all around. While members of the moneyed elite h
Paperback, 239 pages
Published April 27th 2009 by Holt McDougal (first published January 1st 2008)
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3.53  · 
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 ·  1,391 ratings  ·  224 reviews

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Jan 02, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Peter Mcloughlin
Dispatches from the mid-aughts America which was a shitshow now it must be an extravaganza. Grim reading and this was before the housing bubble popped and Trump. We have been on a downward slump since the seventies but we seem to have no bottom in sight. So if you are nostalgic for the beginning of the 21st century this is the antidote.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 28, 2015 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
Jun 23, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Aug 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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!
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sometimes funny but often bitter rant about American society, government and lifestyle. I'd urge Barbara to actually live in other countries before she starts to expound on the shortcomings of our nation. At times the book felt like political propaganda for the Democrats. Overall, it's an entertaining book and like anything else I recommend consuming it with a grain of salt.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Ehrenreich has long been a voice for those who are working so hard that they don't have time to raise their 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
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Joe Robles
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Dennis Littrell
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kicks butt

Verbally speaking.

I'm jealous. I like to think that I can write hot, sharp prose that singes the footsies of the miscreants on the Right; but I can't hold a candle to Barbara Ehrenreich (so to speak), nor can most journalists/social critics working in America today. Take one part suffragette tea, stir in some leftover Wobbly stew, add a dash of farm worker's jalapeno pepper, some heartland hardtack, garnish with some Lesbo Island fig chutney and serve with a mason jar of limousine libe
Kyle Bohman
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.
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Thom Dunn
Anthology of columns. Appropriately sassy, but repetitive format.
Andrew Leon
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm going to say right up front: This is probably not a book you should read.
Wait, let me revise that: This is not a book you should read if you haven't read any other books by Barbara Ehrenreich.
Also: This is not a "book." It's a collection of essays.
Funny story: I didn't know that when I started reading it. Having read many other Ehrenreich books, I was more than a little thrown by how disjointed this seemed... until I realized that it was a collection of essays, then it made sense.

The other d
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
TITLE: This Land is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation
WHY I CHOSE THIS BOOK: It fit in my reading challenge being connected to the book before it, On Tyranny, by being of the same format, essays
REVIEW: This author also wrote Nickle and Dimed which I have heard a lot about but had not read. I liked This Land is Their Land so much I am definitely going to read Nickel and Dimed very soon. It was brutally funny. Using hyperbole and bringing faulty points of view to their extreme conclusions s
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with pretty much everything she writes. But the way she writes it-- I think it is meant to be bitingly witty, but it comes off as just sort of snarky-- is pretty grating. This being said, I wonder if it is a function of the time in which we live; the book was published in 2008, and the critiques of various Bush-era policies feel positively quaint given the dystopian era in which we currently find ourselves.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains several essays by Barbara Ehrenreich, who also wrote Nickled & Dimed. She is a great supporter of the working class, kindness, fairness and justice. I found myself agreeing with everything she said, only she knows how to say it and support her beliefs.
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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.
“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.” 8 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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