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Class Lives: Stories from across Our…
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Class Lives: Stories from across Our Economic Divide

by Chuck Collins (Editor), Jennifer Ladd (Editor), Maynard Seider (Editor), Felice Yeskel (Editor)

Other authors: Michaelann Bewsee (Contributor), Jim Bonilla (Contributor), Mariah Boone (Contributor), Sarah Burgess (Contributor), N. Jeanne Burns (Contributor)34 more, Pamela Burrows (Contributor), Janet Casey (Contributor), Chuck Collins (Contributor), Monica Crumback (Contributor), Jennifer O'Connor Duffy (Contributor), Anne Ellinger (Contributor), Karen Estrella (Contributor), Sierra Fleenor (Contributor), Jacques Fleury (Contributor), Sally Gottesman (Contributor), Zoe Greenberg (Contributor), Kyle Harris (Contributor), Timothy Harris (Contributor), Camisha Jones (Contributor), Stephanie Jones (Contributor), Jennifer Ladd (Contributor), Dwight Lang (Contributor), Fisher Lavell (Contributor), Betsy Leondar-Wright (Contributor), Jane Lightfoot (Contributor), Catherine Orland (Contributor), Christine Overall (Contributor), Patience Rage (Contributor), Charlotte Redway (Contributor), Geneva Reynaga-Abiko (Contributor), John Rosario-Perez (Contributor), April Rosenblum (Contributor), Karen Spector (Contributor), Linda Stout (Contributor), K. Stricker (Contributor), Michelle M. Tokarczyk (Contributor), Polly Trout (Contributor), John Vaughn (Contributor), Wendy R. Williams (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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We are not all middle class

Class Lives Stories From Across Our Economic Divide (A Class Action Book), edited by Chuck Collins, Jennifer Ladd, Maynard Seider, and Felice Yeskel (ILR Press/Cornell University Press, $19.95).

We’d like to believe that we’re all middle class, but the reality is, we’re not. In fact, unless you own more property than the heavily-mortgaged house you’re living in and would be able to lose your job without fear of immediately falling into poverty, thanks to savings and investments, you’re probably not middle class. More likely, you’re working class: dependent upon wages for the vast majority of your income, with equity in your home but no income property.

But the illusion of the universal middle class is extremely persistent in the United States, and in Class Lives: Stories from Across Our Economic Divide, the editors use the personal narratives of people of varying backgrounds to illuminate how different life can be for those on the “down” side of America’s class divide. As we continue our national discussion about economic inequality, this book offers a new way to approach understanding what that inequality means: simply listen to the lives of people on the scarcity side of the divide. While we might argue about where the line between middle class and, well, everything else is (Is it home ownership? Reliance on wages? Access to consumer goods?), these stories offer more personal perspectives, as well as insight into the psychological and social consequences of even mild forms of poverty.

Reviewed on Lit/Rant: www.litrant.tumblr.com ( )
  KelMunger | Mar 2, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Collins, ChuckEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ladd, JenniferEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Seider, MaynardEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Yeskel, FeliceEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bewsee, MichaelannContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bonilla, JimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boone, MariahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgess, SarahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burns, N. JeanneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burrows, PamelaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Casey, JanetContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Collins, ChuckContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crumback, MonicaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duffy, Jennifer O'ConnorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellinger, AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Estrella, KarenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fleenor, SierraContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fleury, JacquesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gottesman, SallyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Greenberg, ZoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, KyleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, TimothyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, CamishaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, StephanieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ladd, JenniferContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lang, DwightContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lavell, FisherContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leondar-Wright, BetsyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lightfoot, JaneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orland, CatherineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Overall, ChristineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rage, PatienceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Redway, CharlotteContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reynaga-Abiko, GenevaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rosario-Perez, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rosenblum, AprilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spector, KarenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stout, LindaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stricker, K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tokarczyk, Michelle M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trout, PollyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vaughn, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, Wendy R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blair, KellyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0801479657, Paperback)

Class Lives is an anthology of narratives dramatizing the lived experience of class in America. It includes forty original essays from authors who represent a range of classes, genders, races, ethnicities, ages, and occupations across the United States. Born into poverty, working class, the middle class, and the owning class—and every place in between—the contributors describe their class journeys in narrative form, recounting one or two key stories that illustrate their growing awareness of class and their place, changing or stable, within the class system.

The stories in Class Lives are both gripping and moving. One contributor grows up in hunger and as an adult becomes an advocate for the poor and homeless. Another acknowledges the truth that her working-class father's achievements afforded her and the rest of the family access to people with power. A gifted child from a working-class home soon understands that intelligence is a commodity but finds his background incompatible with his aspirations and so attempts to divide his life into separate worlds.

Together, these essays form a powerful narrative about the experience of class and the importance of learning about classism, class cultures, and the intersections of class, race, and gender. Class Lives will be a helpful resource for students, teachers, sociologists, diversity trainers, activists, and a general audience. It will leave readers with an appreciation of the poignancy and power of class and the journeys that Americans grapple with on a daily basis.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:41 -0400)

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