Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

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W. W. Norton & Company, Sep 19, 2017 - Social Science - 288 pages
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The inspiration for Chloé Zhao's celebrated film starring Frances McDormand, winner of the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress
March and April pick for the PBS Newshour-New York Times "Now Read This" Book Club
New York Times bestseller

"People who thought the 2008 financial collapse was over a long time ago need to meet the people Jessica Bruder got to know in this scorching, beautifully written, vivid, disturbing (and occasionally wryly funny) book." —Rebecca Solnit

 

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that social security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community of nomads.

On frequently traveled routes between seasonal jobs, Jessica Bruder meets people from all walks of life: a former professor, a McDonald’s vice president, a minister, a college administrator, and a motorcycle cop, among many others—including her irrepressible protagonist, a onetime cocktail waitress, Home Depot clerk, and general contractor named Linda May.

In a secondhand vehicle she christens “Van Halen,” Bruder hits the road to get to know her subjects more intimately. Accompanying Linda May and others from campground toilet cleaning to warehouse product scanning to desert reunions, then moving on to the dangerous work of beet harvesting, Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of the dark underbelly of the American economy—one that foreshadows the precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, she celebrates the exceptional resilience and creativity of these quintessential Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive. Like Linda May, who dreams of finding land on which to build her own sustainable “Earthship” home, they have not given up hope.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - flourgirl49 - LibraryThing

What happens to people when they can't afford to both pay rent and eat - many of them walk away and instead start living in a van or RV and drive around the country finding seasonal work from ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jbarr5 - LibraryThing

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder Love the tribute to Leonard Cohen, his words matter. Story is about Linda and she's now over 60 and on the road traveling ... Read full review

Contents

FOREWORD
Part
The Squeeze
The
Surviving America
Escape Plan
Part
Amazon Town
Halen
Some Unbeetable Experiences
Part Three
The H Word
Homecoming
The Octopus in the Coconut
Acknowledgments
Notes

The Gathering Place
The Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

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About the author (2017)

Jessica Bruder is an award-winning journalist whose work focuses on subcultures and the dark corners of the economy. She has written for Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Bruder teaches at the Columbia School of Journalism.

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