Books by Katherine S. Newman

Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"The stories sometimes drag, but the facts are undeniable and well-presented, and the message is clear."
A clear presentation of the retirement problem in the United States, shown through the stories of diverse individuals whose insecurity reveals a shredding of the fabric of American life. Read full book review >
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Released: April 19, 2016

"A top-notch, highly accessible contribution to the business and popular economics literature."
Now that the tide of outsourcing employment has begun to turn, the time has come to think about how to reverse chronic unemployment among youth in the United States. Read full book review >
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Released: Jan. 17, 2012

"Clear presentation of a growing problem, its causes and consequences and the choices societies make. "
A look at the impact of globalization on young people finds intriguing differences in family relationships and living patterns in selected countries around the around. Read full book review >
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Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"The many fragmented individual stories tend to blur together, but the message comes through loud and clear."
The lives of nine families just barely scraping by in four New York City neighborhoods. Read full book review >
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Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"The many fragmented individual stories tend to blur together, but the message comes through loud and clear."
The lives of nine families just barely scraping by in four New York City neighborhoods. Read full book review >
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Released: Jan. 1, 2003

"A well-documented portrait of a little-examined group."
Newman, who studied the working poor in No Shame in My Game (1999), turns her attention to aging in the inner city. Read full book review >
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Released: April 12, 1999

Harvard anthropologist Newman (Declining Fortunes: The Withering of the American Dream, 1993, etc.) authors a pathbreaking study of a neglected group of Americans: those who work yet remain mired in poverty. For two years Newman and her research assistants chronicled the lives of 300 workers and job-seekers at four fast-food restaurants in Harlem. Their results challenge many of the assumptions concerning poor people of the inner city. First and foremost, despite the ready alternatives of crime and welfare, this group as a whole cherishes that most American of ideals, working. They do so at minimum wage with heavy demands on them in terms of school, supporting of families, medical needs with no insurance coverage, and so much more. They persevere in the face of ridicule from peers and the public at large, who most often see "burger flipping" as demeaning mindless labor (though the author convincingly shows that these jobs do in fact demand skills that are to be admired). They persevere despite the fact that, while they desperately and actively seek to move on and up to better jobs, most won't. These working poor are presented as a group but also as individuals, as Kyesha, Jamal, Carman, and so many others. None are saints but none fulfill the stereotype of an underclass that has given up on itself and its future. "The nation's poor do not need their values engineered," writes Newman, "they do not need lessons about the dignity of work." What they need is help to overcome the anonymous barriers of race and class, the negative valuation of their work experience, the simple lack of enough good jobs to go around. In her conclusion, the author offers several recommendations that might, with minimal cost to government and private employers, help these workers realize some benefit from their belief in the dignity of labor. This is a work of major importance that policymakers and concerned citizens should read, need to read. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: May 12, 1993

Columbia anthropologist Newman (Falling from Grace, 1988) fords the Hudson River and discovers suburbia—as well as a shrieking discontent that will surprise few. ``In the decades that followed the Great Depression,'' according to Newman, ``Americans came to assume that prosperity was their birthright....The economic realities of the 1980s and 1990s have crushed these expectations.'' The younger residents of Pleasanton, New Jersey, have known this for some time: Despite their college educations and tenacious work habits, they are unable to give their children many of the advantages—large homes, full- time mothers, good schools—that they received as a matter of course from their own, far less privileged, parents. Most of them, in fact, can no longer afford to live in Pleasanton—a modest postwar commuter town whose property values went through the ceiling in the 1980's and never came down. The yuppie newcomers- -especially the ``wealthy Asians''—hold themselves aloof from the natives and are largely despised. Newman backs up her interviews with statistics confirming the decline in ``living standards'' that her subjects speak of—the rise in unemployment, the slow decline of real wages, the realignment of tax rates—but it's hard to see where she breaks any new ground or offers any substantial remedy. Even her methodology seems skewed—there is, for example, no consideration given to the theory that the postwar boom was an anomaly that could never have been sustained. The interviews themselves are interesting but hardly illustrative, especially since the complaints voiced in them have been a matter of public debate for years. Rambling oral history without much at the core. Read full book review >