Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town

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For readers of Hillbilly Elegy and Strangers in Their Own Land

FINALIST FOR THE OHIOANA BOOK AWARDS AND THE 87TH CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARDS | NAMED A BEST/MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2017 BY: New York PostNewsweek • The Week BustleBooks by the Banks Book Festival

The Wall Street Journal: "A devastating portrait...For anyone wondering why swing-state America voted against the establishment in 2016, Mr. Alexander supplies plenty of answers."

Laura Miller, Slate: "This book hunts bigger game. Reads like an odd?and oddly satisfying?fusion of George Packer’s The Unwinding and one of Michael Lewis’ real-life financial thrillers."

The New Yorker : "Does a remarkable job."

Beth Macy, author of Factory Man: "This book should be required reading for people trying to understand Trumpism, inequality, and the sad state of a needlessly wrecked rural America. I wish I had written it."

In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all-American town. Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future. In Glass House, journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion.

The Anchor Hocking Glass Company, once the world’s largest maker of glass tableware, was the base on which Lancaster’s society was built. As Glass House unfolds, bankruptcy looms. With access to the company and its leaders, and Lancaster’s citizens, Alexander shows how financial engineering took hold in the 1980s, accelerated in the 21st Century, and wrecked the company. We follow CEO Sam Solomon, an African-American leading the nearly all-white town’s biggest private employer, as he tries to rescue the company from the New York private equity firm that hired him. Meanwhile, Alexander goes behind the scenes, entwined with the lives of residents as they wrestle with heroin, politics, high-interest lenders, low wage jobs, technology, and the new demands of American life: people like Brian Gossett, the fourth generation to work at Anchor Hocking; Joe Piccolo, first-time director of the annual music festival who discovers the town relies on him, and it, for salvation; Jason Roach, who police believed may have been Lancaster’s biggest drug dealer; and Eric Brown, a local football hero-turned-cop who comes to realize that he can never arrest Lancaster’s real problems.

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More by Brian Alexander

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How much control do we have over love? Much less than we like to think. All that mystery, all that poetry, all those complex behaviors sur­rounding human bonding leading to the most life-changing decisions we’ll ever make, are unconsciously driven by a few molecules in our brains.

How does love begin? How can two strangers come to the conclusion that it would not only be pleasant to share their lives, but that they must share them? How can a man say he loves his wife, yet still cheat on her? Why do others stay in relationships even after the ro­mance fades? How is it possible to fall in love with the “wrong” person? How do people come to have a “type”?

Physical attraction, jealousy, infidelity, mother-infant bonding—all the behaviors that so often leave us befuddled—are now being teased out of the fog of mystery thanks to today’s social neuroscience. Larry Young, one of the world’s leading experts in the field, and journalist Brian Alexander explain how those findings apply to you.

Drawing on real human stories and research from labs around the world, The Chemistry Between Us is a bold attempt to create a “grand unified theory” of love. Some of the mind-blowing insights include:

Love can get such a grip on us because it is, literally, an addiction. To a woman falling in love, a man is like her baby. Why it’s false to say society makes gender, and how it’s possible to have the body of one gender and the brain of another.
Why some people are more likely to cheat than others. Why we sometimes truly can’t resist temptation.

Young and Alexander place their revelations into historical, political, and social contexts. In the pro­cess, they touch on everything from gay marriage to why single-mother households might not be good for society. The Chemistry Between Us offers powerful in­sights into love, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and family life that will prove to be enlightening, contro­versial, and thought provoking.

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Additional Information

Publisher
St. Martin's Press
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Published on
Feb 14, 2017
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9781250085818
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
Social Science / Social Classes & Economic Disparity
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Welcome to the America we don’t usually talk about, a place where that nice couple down the street could be saddling up for “pony play,” making and selling their own porn DVDs, or hosting other couples for a little flogging. As award-winning journalist Brian Alexander uncovers, fringe experimentation has gone suburban. Soccer moms, your accountant, even your own parents could be turning kinky.

Stunned by the uninhibited questions from ordinary people on his msnbc.com column, “Sexploration” (“My wife and I have heard that a lot of couples in their thirties are playing strip poker . . . as well as skinny-dipping with other couples/friends. Any idea if this is a fashionable trend or has it been going on for some time and we never knew it?” or “I am interested in bondage and hear that there are secret bondage clubs someplace. Can you help me find them?”), Brian Alexander was driven to understand Americans’ desire to get down and dirty—especially in an era where conservative family values dominate.

To find out what people are really doing—and why a country that suffered a national freak- out over Janet Jackson’s breast was enthusiastically getting in touch with its inner perv—Alexander set out on a sexual safari in modern America. Whether mixing it up at a convention of fetishists, struggling into his own pair of PVC pants for a wild night at a sex club, being tutored on dildos by a nineteen-year-old supervisor while working in an adult store, or learning the surprising ways of Biblical sex from an evangelical preacher, Alexander uses humor and insight to reveal a sexual world that is quickly redefining the phrase “polite society.”

Gonzo journalism at its funniest and kinkiest, America Unzipped is a fascinating cultural study and an eye-popping peek into the lives of people you’d least expect to find tied up and wearing latex.


One Dozen Things to Avoid When Exploring American Sex

1. Asking an enthusiastic devotee to explain cock-and-ball torture while standing within arm’s length.

2. Assuming an evangelical Christian will not be familiar with the term “69.”

3. Incredibly tight PVC pants.

4. Trying to become the first male sex toy home party salesman in Missouri.

5. Standing too close to bondage models without wearing overalls and safety goggles.

6. Insisting that Dan Quayle would never invest in porn.

7. Displaying a look of surprise when a grandmother discusses the risk of removing a dildo from a microwave oven.

8. Admitting your sex vocabulary is smaller than an eighth grader’s.

9. Explaining the difference between “cream pie” and “gonzo” to a suburban mom shopping for her son’s birthday sex DVDs.

10. Trying to interview a naked submissive locked on a cage.

11. Expecting answers about sex from a six-foot-tall pink rabbit.

12. Thinking that porn kings could not possibly have Ivy League degrees and run charitable foundations.


From the Hardcover edition.
The New York Times bestseller
A New York Times Notable and Critics’ Top Book of 2016
Longlisted for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
One of NPR's 10 Best Books Of 2016 Faced Tough Topics Head On
NPR's Book Concierge Guide To 2016’s Great Reads
San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2016: 100 recommended books
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016
Globe & Mail 100 Best of 2016

“Formidable and truth-dealing . . . necessary.” —The New York Times

“This eye-opening investigation into our country’s entrenched social hierarchy is acutely relevant.” —O Magazine

In her groundbreaking  bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg upends history as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.
 
“When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.
 
Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.
 
We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.
An instant New York Times Bestseller and August 2017 LibraryReads pick!

“Penny’s absorbing, intricately plotted 13th Gamache novel proves she only gets better at pursuing dark truths with compassion and grace.” —PEOPLE

“Louise Penny wrote the book on escapist mysteries.” —The New York Times Book Review

“You won't want Louise Penny's latest to end....Any plot summary of Penny’s novels inevitably falls short of conveying the dark magic of this series.... It takes nerve and skill — as well as heart — to write mysteries like this. ‘Glass Houses,’ along with many of the other Gamache books, is so compelling that, for the space of reading it, you may well feel that much of what’s going on in the world outside the novel is ‘just noise.’” —Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post

When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.

From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the Sûreté du Québec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.

But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.

Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montréal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.

In Glass Houses, her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.

From the author of Aftershock and The Work of Nations, his most important book to date—a myth-shattering breakdown of how the economic system that helped make America so strong is now failing us, and what it will take to fix it.

Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the intersection of economics and politics than Robert B. Reich, and now he reveals how power and influence have created a new American oligarchy, a shrinking middle class, and the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in eighty years. He makes clear how centrally problematic our veneration of the “free market” is, and how it has masked the power of moneyed interests to tilt the market to their benefit.

Reich exposes the falsehoods that have been bolstered by the corruption of our democracy by huge corporations and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street: that all workers are paid what they’re “worth,” that a higher minimum wage equals fewer jobs, and that corporations must serve shareholders before employees. He shows that the critical choices ahead are not about the size of government but about who government is for: that we must choose not between a free market and “big” government but between a market organized for broadly based prosperity and one designed to deliver the most gains to the top. Ever the pragmatist, ever the optimist, Reich sees hope for reversing our slide toward inequality and diminished opportunity when we shore up the countervailing power of everyone else.

Passionate yet practical, sweeping yet exactingly argued, Saving Capitalism is a revelatory indictment of our economic status quo and an empowering call to civic action.


From the Hardcover edition.
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