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Going for Broke: Living on the Edge in the World's Richest Country

Regular price $ 19.95

Edited by Alissa Quart and David Wallis

Haymarket Books

10/3/2023, paperback

SKU: 9781642599657


A collection of compelling, hard-hitting first-person essays, poems, and photos that expose what our punitive social systems do to so many Americans.

Going for Broke, edited by Alissa Quart, Executive Director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and David Wallis, former Managing Director of EHRP, gives voice to a range of gifted writers for whom "economic precarity" is more than just another assignment. All illustrate what the late Barbara Ehrenreich, who conceived of EHRP, once described as "the real face of journalism today: not million dollar-a-year anchorpersons, but low-wage workers and downwardly spiraling professionals."

One essayist and grocery store worker describes what it is like to be an "essential worker" during the pandemic; another reporter and military veteran details his experience with homelessness and what would have actually helped him at the time. These dozens of fierce and sometimes darkly funny pieces reflect the larger systems that have made writers' bodily experiences, family and home lives, and work far harder than they ought to be.

Featuring introductions by luminaries including Michelle Tea, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Astra Taylor, Going for Broke is revelatory. It shows us the costs of income inequality to our bodies and our minds--and demonstrates real ways to change our conditions.


"Going for Broke is a gut punch, a collective portrait of precarity, a book of testimony and astonishing courage. This is a book with a pulse. It's angry, as it must be, and often beautiful, and always brilliant with the illumination of injustice. These essays and memoirs and poems and pictures--this documentary art--is vital, intimate, and necessary. Please, read this heartbreaking, heart-mending volume." -- Jeff Sharlet, New York Times-bestselling author of The Undertow and The Family

"The subjects' voices jump from the page with pain and hope. More than that, they're a provocation to the reader to consider the fine line between the lives of the "middle precariat" and their own, if there is one. Whether it's the ironies of telling working people not to smoke when the system does precious little to secure basic health care, an underpaid adjunct instructor handing her EBT card to her student clerking at the local grocery store, or a person with hearing impairments whose doctor thinks that hiding her condition as a "surprise" for a medical student is a hilarious joke, the editors position the voices of the disadvantaged as compelling, worth listening to, and valuable." -- Booklist, Starred Review

About the Editors:

Alissa Quart is the author of five acclaimed books of nonfiction including Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream, Squeezed, Republic of Outsiders, Hothouse Kids, and Branded. She is the Executive Director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project and is also the author of two books of poetry. She has written for many publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and TIME.

David Wallis has contributed to The New Yorker, The Washington Post and The New York Times, among other publications. He has edited two critically acclaimed books, Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot To Print and Killed Cartoons: Casualties from the War on Free Expression. He previously served as managing director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.