Nomadland

Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Jessica Bruder (Author, Columbia School of Journalism)

 

A revelatory work of in-depth narrative journalism about a new American workforce and a shift away from retirement as we know it.

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the wilderness campgrounds of California to an Amazon warehouse in Texas, people who once might have kicked back to enjoy their sunset years are hard at work. Underwater on mortgages or finding that Social Security comes up short, they’re hitting the road in astonishing numbers, forming a new community of nomads: RV and van-dwelling migrant laborers, or “workampers.”

Building on her groundbreaking Harper’s cover story, “The End of Retirement,” which brought attention to these formerly settled members of the middle class, Jessica Bruder follows one such RVer, Linda, between physically taxing seasonal jobs and reunions of her new van-dweller family, or “vanily.” Bruder tells a compelling, eye-opening tale of both the economy’s dark underbelly and the extraordinary resilience, creativity, and hope of these hardworking, quintessential Americans—many of them single women—who have traded rootedness for the dream of a better life.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • Forthcoming September 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-24931-6
  • 6.1 × 9.3 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“People who thought the 2008 financial collapse was over a long time ago need to meet the people Jessica Bruder got to know in this scorching, beautifully written, vivid, disturbing (and occasionally wryly funny) book. Nomadland is a testament both to the generosity and creativity of the victims of our modern-medieval economy, hidden in plain sight, and to the blunt-end brutality that put them there. Is this the best the wealthiest nation on earth can do for those who’ve already done so much?” — Rebecca Solnit, author of The Mother of All Questions

“In the early 20th century, men used to ride the rails in search of work, sharing camps at night. Today, as Bruder brilliantly reports, we have a new class of nomadic workers who travel in their RV's from one short-term job to another. There's a lot to cringe at here — from low pay and physically exhausting work to constant insecurity. But surprisingly, Nomadland also offers its residents much-needed camaraderie and adventure, which makes this book a joy to read.” — Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

“The campsite as the home of last resort, the RV used not for vacation but for survival: these are the makings of a new dystopia. Nomadland is a smart road book for the new economy, full of conviviality and dark portent.” — Ted Conover, author of Rolling Nowhere and Immersion