Down The Up Escalator: American Lives in the Great (and Too Long) Recession

Down The Up Escalator: American Lives in the Great (and Too Long) Recession Review

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Title:Down The Up Escalator: American Lives in the Great (and Too Long) Recession

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    Down The Up Escalator: American Lives in the Great (and Too Long) Recession Reviews

  • Susan Grodsky

    Barbara Garson seems like a wonderful person. I can imagine knocking on her door to borrow a cup of sugar and leaving three hours later, after stimulating conversation punctuated with rueful laughter....

  • Desiree

    An honest look at our current economy through the eyes of those who have been hurt by the recession. I found parts of it difficult to read, especially the stories about people who lost their homes thr...

  • Sara

    This book was interesting but very lightweight. It was more of an extended magazine article than a book, because I wouldn't expect to be able to read 300 pages of non-fiction in a few hours. However, ...

  • Carly Thompson

    Well written account of the effects of the Great Recession on average middle class Americans. Garson looks at people who have lost jobs, lost homes, and lost investment income. Written in the first pe...

  • Melissa

    “If you’re not a worker, not a consumer, and you don’t earn significant income from investments, then you don’t have much of a place in capitalist society. In the course of this recession mill...

  • Alan

    Down the Up Escalator belongs on the bookshelf next to Nickled and Dimed, which is Barbara Ehrenreich's powerful and insightful book on the lives of working people. However, Garson is a more scholarly...

  • Hussam Al Husseini

    The importance of the book lies in knowing how Americans were coping with the Recession that hit in 2008.The cause might have started in the 1970s for many reaons:1. Wages did not rise with productivi...

  • Caren

    This is an up-close-and-personal look at how the recent economic hard times have affected ordinary Americans. The author has done a wonderful job of introducing us to real people and their stories. Sh...

  • Ginny Dodge

    This is one of the first books I've read by a journalist. I am trying to explore genres I haven't previously tried out and I found myself pretty engaged to the characters presented and the voice of th...

  • Denise

    In 2008 America suffered through the bursting of a real estate bubble that devastated its citizens and the economy. The stock market went into free fall, corporations began laying off workers by the t...