Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Listen to the folks talking about not being tied down and mortgage free on the proliferating tiny house shows, and you’ll figure out that with their aspirational RVs, they are talking to the folks that populate Nomadland. Journalist Jessica Bruder gets know the folks who live out of their trailers and campers (and sometimes cars), centering the story on Linda May, a grandmother who’d rather be on the road than a burden to her financially struggling kids. These folks work at Amazon fulfillment centers, take seasonal work, both good (campground monitor) and bad (sugar beet picker), and learn how to stretch their social security dollars razor thin. Like all interesting subcultures, they connect both online and in gatherings. Most notably, they define themselves by who they are not, making it clear they are houseless but not homeless. Nomadland is a fascinating sociological look at a burgeoning subculture, and captures an economic crisis in the making, the hollowing out of the middle class.

— Daniel Goldin

Description


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.



About the Author


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.

Praise For…


A remarkable book of immersive reporting.…Bruder is an acute and compassionate observer.
— Margaret Talbot - The New Yorker

This is an important book.… A calmly stated chronicle of devastation. But told as story after story, it is also a riveting collection of tales about irresistible people—quirky, valiant people who deserve respect and a decent life.
— Louise Erdrich, author of Future Home of the Living God and The Round House

Bruder is a poised and graceful writer.
— Parul Sehgal - New York Times

[A] devastating, revelatory book.
— Timothy R. Smith - Washington Post

A first-rate piece of immersive journalism.
— San Francisco Chronicle

Stirring reportage.
— O Magazine

At once wonderfully humane and deeply troubling, the book offers an eye-opening tour of the increasingly unequal, unstable, and insecure future our country is racing toward.
— Astra Taylor - The Nation

Some readers will come because they’re enamored of road narratives, but Bruder’s study should be of interest to anyone who cares about the future of work, community, and retirement.
— Peter C. Baker - Pacific Standard

Important, eye-opening journalism.
— Kim Ode - Minneapolis Star Tribune

Bruder tells [this] story with gripping insight, detail and candor. In the hands of a fine writer, this is a terrific profile of a subculture that gets little attention, or is treated by the media as a quirky hobby, rather than a survival strategy.
— Peter Simon - Buffalo News
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393356311
ISBN-10: 0393356310
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: September 4th, 2018
Pages: 288
Language: English