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Nomadland : surviving America in the twenty-first century
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  New York Times Review

LIONESS: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel, by Francine Klagsbrun. (Schocken, $40.) Meir has often been as reviled in Israel as she is admired in the United States, but perspectives are shifting. Klagsbrun's absorbing biography suggests this woman politician made history in more ways than one. AN ODYSSEY: A Father, a Son, and an Epic, by Daniel Mendelsohn. (Knopf, $26.95.) A distinguished critic and classicist, Mendelsohn uses Homer's epic as a vehicle for telling his own intricately constructed story of a father and son and their travails through life and love. PRESIDENT MCKINLEY: Architect of the American Century, by Robert W. Merry. (Simon & Schuster, $35.) McKinley tends to be forgotten among American presidents, overshadowed by his successor, Theodore Roosevelt, but he was largely responsible for America's 20th-century role in the world. Merry's measured, insightful biography seeks to set the record straight. THE COLLECTED ESSAYS OF ELIZABETH HARDWICK, edited by Darryl Pinckney. (New York Review, paper, $19.95.) These impeccably economical essays, collected here with a wise introduction by Pinckney, offer a rich immersion in Hardwick's brilliant mind and the minds of the writers she read so well. NOMADLAND: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, by Jessica Bruder. (Norton, $26.95.) In this brilliant and compassionate book, Bruder documents how a growing number of older people, post-recession refugees from the middle and working class, cross the land in their vans and R.V.s in search of work. THE SHADOW DISTRICT, by Arnaldur Indridason. (Thomas Dunne/ Minotaur, $25.99.) In this moody Icelandic mystery, a retired police officer investigates a present-day murder with apparent links to another crime, committed during the waning days of World War II, when the neutral nation was occupied by Allied troops. A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYONE WHO EVER LIVED: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes, by Adam Rutherford. (The Experiment, $25.95.) With a heady amalgam of science, history and a bit of anthropology, Rutherford offers a captivating primer on genetics and human evolution as told through our DNA. THE LAST BALLAD, by Wiley Cash. (Morrow/HarperCollins, $26.99.) Cash's novel revisits a 1929 textile union strike that turned deadly; his heroine is based on a real-life union organizer and folk singer now mostly lost to history. CATAPULT: Stories, by Emily Fridlund. (Sarabande, paper, $16.95.) This powerhouse of a first collection - by an author whose debut novel, "History of Wolves," was a finalist for this year's Man Booker Prize - is notable for its deft mix of humor and insight. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web:

  Publishers Weekly Review

Actor White engages listeners in Bruder's sociological study of a group of low-income, mostly white elderly Americans who travel from job to job in RVs to avoid the cost of a permanent home. These are men and women in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s who consider themselves not homeless but houseless, having lost their homes or opted to ditch their mortgages, taxes, and repair bills. Listeners will feel as if they are right there in Bruder's passenger seat, traveling with her to RV campsites, researching, and sharing grief and friendship with the "workampers." Among the people profiled is 64-year-old Linda May, who lives in a tiny trailer she calls the Squeeze Inn-"yeah, there's room, squeeze in"-and works as a "host" in trailer camps registering newcomers, repairing RVs, and cleaning toilets all day. She then heads to Amazon warehouses for long, exhausting night shifts sorting packages. White's friendly voice and easygoing conversational rhythm embeds listeners in the misery but also the camaraderie of these under-the-radar 21st-century nomads. A Norton hardcover. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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: migrant laborers who call themselves "workampers."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.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. xi
Part 1
1The Squeeze Innp. 3
2The Endp. 29
3Surviving Americap. 39
4Escape Planp. 69
Part 2
5Amazon Townp. 95
6The Gathering Placep. 115
7The Rubber Tramp Rendezvousp. 135
8Halenp. 163
9Some Unbeetable Experiencesp. 183
Part 3
10The H Wordp. 201
11Homecomingp. 207
Coda: The Octopus in the Coconutp. 243
Acknowledgmentsp. 253
Notesp. 257
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