Down the Up Escalator: Book summary and reviews of Down the Up Escalator by Barbara Garson

Down the Up Escalator

How the 99 Percent Live in the Great Recession

by Barbara Garson

Down the Up Escalator

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About this book

Book Summary

One of our most incisive and committed journalists—author of the classic All the Livelong Day - shows us the real human cost of our economic follies.

The Great Recession has thrown huge economic chal­lenges at almost all Americans save the super-affluent few, and we are only now beginning to reckon up the human toll it is taking. Down the Up Escalator is an urgent dispatch from the front lines of our vast collective struggle to keep our heads above water and maybe even - someday - get ahead. Garson has interviewed an economically and geographically wide variety of Americans to show the pain­ful waste in all this loss and insecurity, and describe how individuals are coping. Her broader historical focus, though, is on the causes and consequences of the long stag­nation of wages and how it has resulted in an increasingly desperate reliance on credit and a series of ever-larger bubbles - stocks, technology, real estate. This is no way to run an economy, or a democracy.

From the members of the Pink Slip Club in New York, to a California home health-care aide on the eve of eviction, to a subprime mortgage broker who still thinks it could have worked, Down the Up Escalator presents a sobering picture of what happens to a society when it becomes economically organized to benefit only the very rich and the quick-buck speculators. But it also demonstrates the wit and resilience of ordinary Americans - and why they deserve so much bet­ter than the hand they've been dealt.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] compelling portrait of an economy that has turned against the people." - Publishers Weekly

"A you-are-there report from the trenches in the style of Studs Terkel." - Library Journal

"The author traces each step of the foreclosure process through individual case studies, which allow her to identify and dramatize the pitfalls set for the unknowing and the villains preying on the unaware. She does not exclude speculators, who fell victim to their own get-rich schemes. A skillful presentation that lifts the veil too often hiding areas that should be brought to light." - Kirkus

"This book is a compassionate, probing, pointillist mural of the Great Recession and of the decades-long erosion of the average American's economic position that preceded it, all told through the experiences of individual men and women...[She] has found people whose stories will stick with you." - Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost and To End All Wars.

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More Information

More Information

Barbara Garson is an award-winning play­wright, journalist, and the author of three books, All the Livelong Day: The Meaning and Demeaning of Routine Work, The Electronic Sweatshop, and most recently Money Makes the World Go Around: One Investor Tracks Her Cash Through the Global Economy. Her play MacBird was the literary open­ing shot of the sixties, and The Dinosaur Door won an Obie. Her writing has appeared in Harper's, the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Nation.

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