This land is their land : reports from a divided nation

by Barbara Ehrenreich

Paper Book, 2008


Ehrenreich's second work of satirical commentary reflects on one of the cruelest decades in memory--the 2000's--in which she finds a nation scarred by deepening inequality, corroded by distrust, and shamed by its official cruelty.



Call number



New York : Metropolitan Books, 2008.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bragan
This book was published in 2008, but with the Occupy Wall Street movement garnering national attention, now seemed like the ideal time for me to finally get around to reading it. Ehrenreich has a lot to say about the widening gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us, the difficulties involved
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in being poor in America (including the problem of health care), and the abuses corporations get away with heaping on their employees. She also talks a bit, towards the end, about issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and the cultural mindset that gives us such self-deluding self-help principles as "the Secret."

Each chapter here is only three or four pages long, delivering a small, pointed little nugget of social criticism. I believe all or most of these were originally published elsewhere, although it would have been good for that to have been stated in the introduction, since it feels oddly structured if you try to approach it as a unified work: a little disjointed, occasionally slightly repetitive, and prone to rely more on anecdote than on deep analysis. Ehrenreich's often-satirical writing is very sharp, though, sometimes blisteringly so, and the problems she's addressing are important and very real. In the end, it isn't terribly cohesive, but it does manage to be simultaneously entertaining and rather depressing to read.
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LibraryThing member JenLamoureux
This starts out interesting, but ends tired and maybe even a little trite. Overall, I felt like I was re-reading other books by Ehrenreich. Still, I do enjoy her dry, and times dark, wit.
LibraryThing member jimocracy
The author got a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. Where she was right, she was sickeningly smug and where she was wrong was downright sickening. I didn't appreciate the Michael Moorean approach of presenting facts that agree with you and supressing ones that don't. Also, it was not
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pleasant to sit through hours of tedious pessimism only to end the book with no real positive solutions.
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LibraryThing member WeaselOfDoom
I happen to agree with Ms. Ehrenreich on 99% of points, but her writing style at times rubbed me the wrong way, especially when she was deriding people for believing in God. I am sure a lot of the incendiary comments were there just to annoy conservatives, but it distracted from my enjoyment of the
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5 stars for content, 2 stars for writing style.
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LibraryThing member GaylDasherSmith
Startling statistics and stories that shouldn't surprise anyone who's paying attention to what's happening in America now. It was interesting to read while watching the presidential party conventions. The author did a great job of inserting levity and illustrations of strength of spirit while
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telling this depressing story. I keep quoting it.
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LibraryThing member DiscoDeb
Ehrenreich, author of many undercover journalistic books, hits at the government and the country in general in her essays which widely range from immigration to health care. All of her essays give the strong message that in this country, we are divided into a nation of haves and have nots, a sad
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testament to what America should be about.

I love Ehrenreich's sharp, funny writing style, and I really was hoping this would be another one of her undercover-writer books. Alas, this book is composed of several small magazine and newspaper oped pieces which is obviously her opinion. In her essays, all Republicans, led by the evil president, are evil fat cats that only care about making more money, and the Democrats suffer endlessly to help the homeless, poor and despondent of the nation. Regardless of whether or not you share Ehrenreich's views, her writing style makes the essays fun to read, even if they are a little biased.
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LibraryThing member AsYouKnow_Bob
A collection of her recent columns, with the weakness of that genre - the essays are not as topical as they were when they were first printed.

Still, an important voice, saying things that need saying.
LibraryThing member debnance
I like Barbara’s books, but she, an extreme liberal, does exactly what the extreme conservatives do: She tells little scary stories out of context to promote her own agenda. Is our land really such a scary and terrible place? I don’t think so. What are her suggestions for making things better?
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She rarely proposes solutions, and, if she does, they are generally a single sentence at the end of her diatribe. Is it useful for people to read books like this? Not if it hardens us to the world and makes dialogue with others more difficult, I think.
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LibraryThing member dglenn99
Easy to read and appropriately sarcastic skewering of the right
LibraryThing member libraryhermit
I love to read Barbara Ehrenreich's books, so I can feed off of her righteous indignation about all of the nasty things that are happening in the world and in the United States. I think both her and I have no idea how to fix these seemingly insurmountable problems. But I guess all we can do is try.
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These are extreme statements of the author's position on a topic, just as many other reviewers have pointed out. I think we can all allow ourselves and others to rant and to vent our spleen once in a while. Then when we're all done that, we can get back to debate and constructive efforts. But I wouldn't deprive of the opportunity she has taken in this book, because we all need to do that once in a while.
I like journalism/editorial collections like this because you can read a 3 or 5 page article in a couple of minutes and carry on with your day. Good for reading on the bus or when you are waiting for someone to get off the phone. In a similar vein, I am going to read the Gonzo Papers by Hunter S. Thompson, although his articles are a bit longer.
Very good quality writing. I enjoy her style where she makes outlandish proposals that are so ridiculous that, after you finish rejecting them, then you realize that there really is something that has to be fixed, that you just thought was maybe that serious previously, and you had just been sloughing it off and had apathetically not been paying attention. This is exactly like one of the most famous examples: when Jonathon Swift made "A Modest Proposal" and he wrote about a solution for Irish famine.
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LibraryThing member FredB
This is a collection of short essays, opinion pieces really, written by Barbara Ehrenreich. They mostly touch on topics related to the working class and poor and their challenges with work and family. It's a little dated. It was published in 2009, and obviously written before the bulk of the
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current economic crisis hit. It would be interesting to hear what she has to say about the crisis and its effect on the same people she is writing about now. The author has a great sense of humor, and really sticks it to Bush & co. though sometimes her positions are a bit extreme.
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LibraryThing member sriemann
I really enjoyed this because it made me think and it made me upset. I want to show this book to our social studies teacher and have him read it, and think about if the 8th graders could possibly work on a social justice/community service project stemming from one of the essays in the book. Since
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the book's essays cover a wide range of topics that affect them directly, like health care, sex education, _regular_ public school education, growing poverty -- I think it would be important for them as future citizens to learn about something and research ideas to make things better (or at least draw more attention to something that everyone should know but doesn't).
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Original publication date



0805088407 / 9780805088403
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