This Land Is Their Land

This Land Is Their Land
Barbara Ehrenreich

While I’m a fan of Barbara Ehrenreich’s adventures in immersive journalism (Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch), this collection of short op-ed pieces did not impress. The book’s theme, that America is a country divided by class, with all of the meanness, exploitation, and hypocrisy that entails, is a simple one that these various field reports don’t do enough to flesh out. Only a few of Ehrenreich’s observations combine her rhetorical flair with compelling insight (“we are reaching the point . . . where the largest public housing program in America will be our penitentiary system”), or involve any real newsy reporting (like the way Target handles security problems with its employees). But it’s a breezy read and makes an important moral and political statement all the same.