Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Jessica Bruder (Author, Columbia School of Journalism)

Overview | Formats

The end of retirement?

From the beet fields of North Dakota to the National Forest campgrounds of California to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have discovered a new, low-cost labor pool, made up largely of transient older Americans. Finding that Social Security comes up short, often underwater on mortgages, these invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the road to form a growing community of nomads: migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.”

In a secondhand van she christens “Halen,” Jessica Bruder hits the road and reports on this dark underbelly of the American economy—foreshadowing a precarious future that may await many more of us. At the same time, she celebrates the resilience and creativity of these quintessential Americans who have given up ordinary rootedness to survive.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming September 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35631-1
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 320 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverNomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century


Endorsements & Reviews

“Stunning and beautifully written. . . brilliant and haunting” — Arlie Russell Hochschild, New York Times Book Review

“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 A Paradise Built in Hell

“In the early twentieth 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 RVs 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

“You will never forget the people whose stories Bruder tells. Proud, resourceful, screwed-over, funny and in so many ways admirable, the American nomads Bruder lived with and reports on have sometimes lost everything but their bravado . . . . [She] tells their stories with humanity and wit.” — Louise Erdrich, author of Future Home of the Living God

““Bruder is a poised and graceful writer.”” — Parul Sehgal, New York Times

“[A] devastating, revelatory book.” — Timothy R. Smith, Washington Post

“Some readers will come because they're enamored of road narratives, but Bruder's study should be of interest to anyone who cares about the future of work, community, and retirement.” — Peter C. Baker, Pacific Standard

“[I]mportant, eye-opening journalism.” — Kim Ode, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[A] powerhouse of a book. . . . In the best immersive-journalism tradition, Bruder records her misadventures driving and living in a van. . . . Visceral and haunting reporting.” — Booklist, starred review