Nomadland
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.

Nomadland Details

TitleNomadland
Author
ReleaseSep 19th, 2017
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
ISBN-139780393249316
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Social Issues

Nomadland Review

  • Caren
    January 1, 1970
    This was an engrossing but very unsettling read. Similar to the book "Evicted"(Matthew Desmond), the author entered into a community, in this case-- work campers, following them on the road and working some of their jobs. She interviewed many folks, but followed a few in more detail. One woman in particular, Linda May, became her friend and the centerpiece of her story. Most of her subjects were people who would traditionally be considered of retirement age---in their 60s and 70s, even a few in This was an engrossing but very unsettling read. Similar to the book "Evicted"(Matthew Desmond), the author entered into a community, in this case-- work campers, following them on the road and working some of their jobs. She interviewed many folks, but followed a few in more detail. One woman in particular, Linda May, became her friend and the centerpiece of her story. Most of her subjects were people who would traditionally be considered of retirement age---in their 60s and 70s, even a few in their 80s. These people were once solidly in the middle class, but for various reasons (and often due to circumstances that arose during the Great Recession) found the economics of their former lives impossible to sustain. Some lost their jobs and couldn't find new jobs that paid what their old jobs had, or couldn't find any jobs at all. Some had their houses foreclosed, or could no longer pay their rent and afford food. Health-related debt or divorce may have destroyed their finances. Their situations became economically untenable and they made the choice that kept them from ending up on the streets (or living with one of their kids): they live in their vehicles. Some live in vans, some in very old RVs, some even in cars. (One younger fellow actually lived in a Prius. I can't really imagine that.) They travel about for seasonal work. Linda May began working as a camp host in parks in California. The state had contracted out the jobs to a separate company. The hours were long and poorly paid. The host not only registered campers, but had to deal with late-night noise complaints and spend days cleaning camp sites and the toilets. After doing that job for the summer months, she moved on to work in an Amazon warehouse for the months leading up to the holiday season. Apparently, Amazon receives some sort of tax incentive for hiring older workers, so it actually prefers them. The hours are long and the job brutal. Ms. Bruder worked the job herself in order to give us an insider's view. It is probably worse than I imagined. (This aspect of the book reminded me of Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickled and Dimed".) Other seasonal jobs were for an amusement park and the beet harvest in the late fall. Ms. Bruder also worked the beet harvest, which seemed dangerous even for a younger worker. These jobs, as you can tell, all entail hard physical work. It was common for the workers to either be injured (and remember, there are no health insurance benefits for these jobs) or to just ache from the physical rigor the jobs required. (Amazon provided pain killer dispensers in their warehouses.) OK readers, imagine that your parents or grandparents who are in their 60s or 70s have to travel around in beat-up vans to work hard physical jobs just to exist. How does that make you feel about the good old USA? In the case of Linda May, she took social security at 62 (which, because it is not full retirement age, imposes a financial penalty). She received $500-something a month until she turned 65 and began paying for Medicare, after which her monthly payments dropped to $400-something per month. As Ms. Bruder pointed out, women mostly do have lower social security checks because they make less money and because they are the ones who have often taken time away from paid employment to care for others (whether their children or their parents). Lots of the people Ms. Bruder interviewed were single women, on the road alone. This hidden community has tricks for finding places to park for the night. Walmart will mostly turn a blind eye and allow overnight parking. There is an online community to instruct newbies on the finer points of living in your vehicle, including how to install solar panels on the roof, how to use a 5-gallon bucket as a toilet, how to keep warm in freezing weather...Ms. Bruder provides some food for thought: "Many of the workers I met in the Amazon camps were part of a demographic that in recent years has grown with alarming speed: downwardly mobile older Americans....Monique Morrissey, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, spoke with me about the unprecedented nature of this change. 'We're facing the first-ever reversal in retirement security in modern U.S. history,' she explained. 'Starting with the younger baby boomers, each successive generation is now doing worse than previous generations in terms of their ability to retire without seeing a drop in living standards.' That means no rest for the aging. Nearly nine million Americans sixty-five and older were still employed in 2016, up 60 percent from a decade earlier. Economists expect those numbers---along with the percentage of seniors in the labor force---to keep rising. A recent poll suggests that Americans now fear outliving their assets more than they fear dying. Another survey finds that, although most older Americans still view retirement as 'a time of leisure', only 17 percent anticipate not working at all in their later years." (pages 62-63).Further, she says:"Over the last generation, we have witnessed a massive transfer of economic risk from broad structures of insurance, including those sponsored by the corporate sector as well as by government, onto the fragile balance sheets of American families", Yale political scientist Jacob S. Hacker writes in his book 'The Great Risk Shift'. The overarching message: "You are on your own". All of which is to say that Social Security is now the largest single source of income for most Americans sixty-five and older. But it's woefully inadequate. 'Instead of a three-legged stool, we have a pogo stick", quipped Peter Brady of the Investment Company Institute. That means barely enough for necessities. Nearly half of middle-class workers may be forced to live on a food budget of as little as $5 a day when they retire, according to Teresa Ghilarducci, an economist and professor at the New School in New York City. "I call it 'the end of retirement,'" she said in an interview. Many retirees simply can't survive without some sort of paycheck. Meanwhile, she noted, jobs for older Americans are paying less and less and becoming ever more physically taxing.She worries we're returning to the world that Lee Welling Squier described more than a century ago. " (pages 66-67)Ms. Bruder spoke with some younger work campers too. Here is the story one related:"...Ash had watched her own parents fall out of the middle class after her father, an electrical engineer with a six-figure salary, got laid off in 2001. He was too proud to take a lower-paying job, at least before the family's finances were depleted. Then he ended up driving school buses in the morning and working at Walmart at night. 'Anyway, I'm seeing my parents in their mid-sixties with no retirement, you know, everything that they built over their entire life just disappeared. And then with the recession you see that happening to more people.' Ash said. Though she'd always considered herself to be a 'follower', she began to worry that, even if she adhered to all of society's rules for living an upright middle-class life, she'd have no guarantee of stability. " (pages 106-107)This is an eye-opener of a book. Being on the road in your RV may have sounded slightly romantic before I read this book. Now, I just think this is very, very sad.
    more
  • Jen Naughton
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a peek inside a society that is right under our noses yet isn't acknowledged by anyone outside of it. An increasing number of Americans can't afford to retire and stay in their homes. Some of them who were renting can't afford that either. They have to live somewhere and are forced in their golden years to live in RVs, campers, vans, and even small cars while they work seasonal jobs moving about the country. I know that when I've seen older folks in RVs, I've thought that they chose This book is a peek inside a society that is right under our noses yet isn't acknowledged by anyone outside of it. An increasing number of Americans can't afford to retire and stay in their homes. Some of them who were renting can't afford that either. They have to live somewhere and are forced in their golden years to live in RVs, campers, vans, and even small cars while they work seasonal jobs moving about the country. I know that when I've seen older folks in RVs, I've thought that they chose that lifestyle in their retirement years. It didn't occur to me that they are mostly one small step away from being homeless. Many had worked corporate jobs and were downsized or had massive losses in the 2008 stock market crash. In other words, they were following the prototype of regular American life and got burned.Many of this population work at Amazon as work campers. A sunshiny term Amazon coined to make the job more palatable. It sounds nice at first glance, work at Amazon in exchange for a minimum wage, and a free spot at a campground. The reality is that these workers are in their 60s and 70s and are expected to walk upwards of ten miles a day on hard concrete. If they are injured, they don't get paid. It made me think about my Amazon purchases. If I order a replacement toothbrush head, coffee, and a new book some old person had to walk all around the place getting it for me. It doesn't give me the warm fuzzies.Honestly, this book has shaken me. I can only see this situation getting worse as more and more people get laid off or bought out of jobs in early retirement. We keep buying disposable everything all the while our fellow Americans are killing themselves to fulfill our wishes within the 2-day shipping window without health insurance or union representation.Much like the new awareness of how our animal meat gets to the grocery store we need to take a look at the real human cost of purchasing from giant corporations instead of local stores.Working yourself to death is not a great work ethic- none of us wants that for ourselves or our parents. This book is so well written that it reads like fiction but is unfortunately very real.
    more
  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    A surprising look at the people, mainly retirees, who are houseless not homeless. In a throwback to the 1930s they travel across America in mobile homes and converted vehicles, generally off the radar, taking seasonal work. Because they can't afford the lifestyle we should all hope retired workers receive.It's one of those pretty damning indictments of America's social fabric. And let's be careful about too much Canadian smugness until we look at our own seniors.
    more
  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    If I could, I've give this six stars; it's that good. More to come.Thanks to WW Norton for the advance reading copy.
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    In Nomadland, a title that could surely have been improved on, Jessica Bruder joins a community of older Americans who live in vans and trailers, pursuing seasonal work and independence. In some ways, this book reminded me of Nickel and Dimed, though Bruder never conceals her true purpose as a reporter and acknowledges that her forays into working at a sugar beet processing plant and an Amazon warehouse are not really representative of doing the job full time. Her sardonic quotations of incongru In Nomadland, a title that could surely have been improved on, Jessica Bruder joins a community of older Americans who live in vans and trailers, pursuing seasonal work and independence. In some ways, this book reminded me of Nickel and Dimed, though Bruder never conceals her true purpose as a reporter and acknowledges that her forays into working at a sugar beet processing plant and an Amazon warehouse are not really representative of doing the job full time. Her sardonic quotations of incongruously cheerful employer propaganda (and close call with employer drug testing) are very Ehrenreich-esque. This is a remarkably optimistic book considering that it is mostly about people who have run out of options. It's a paean to Americans' ability to make their own fun and a cat-like tendency to pretend that whatever happened, that was totally what we meant to do. Many "workampers" in this book are retirement-age Americans who don't have enough to retire on and whose families don't have the means to support them. Turning penury into an adventure, they set off on the road and find a blooming community of like-minded agemates who trade tips and leads. How do you make a van livable year-round? Make a toilet from a bucket? Where should you go for livable weather and seasonal work? Bruder buys her own van and participates in an annual gathering of the nomads, where she meets some of the key figures whom she profiles in the book, showing how they ended up where they are and what their modus operandi now is.This book isn't about statistics or policy prescriptions but it's a colorful slice of American life in 2017. It leaves you hanging with an unsettled sense that this is unsustainable (a 90-year-old can't live in a camper), and that this could be you. Review copy received from Edelweiss.
    more
  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    This book changed how I look at the world. Jessica Bruder spent years getting to know the growing band of Americans who can no longer afford brick and mortar homes and have adapted by living in their vehicles, which range in size from a Prius to a schoolbus. Their mobility makes them attractive to employers who need seasonal workers for physically demanding jobs, like Amazon, parks, and agriculture. Bruder has an eye for telling detail and uses the story of Linda May, a nomad who befriended her, This book changed how I look at the world. Jessica Bruder spent years getting to know the growing band of Americans who can no longer afford brick and mortar homes and have adapted by living in their vehicles, which range in size from a Prius to a schoolbus. Their mobility makes them attractive to employers who need seasonal workers for physically demanding jobs, like Amazon, parks, and agriculture. Bruder has an eye for telling detail and uses the story of Linda May, a nomad who befriended her, to tie together her reporting. I would recommend this book to readers of EVICTION, HILLBILLY ELEGY and nonfiction that reads like fiction. An important book that asks tough questions about the American economy and how it treats people.
    more
  • Marlene England
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating - and scary, particularly for those of us who may have 'underprepared' for retirement. I can't stop thinking (and talking) about this book.
  • Marks54
    January 1, 1970
    This was an interesting book. It is far from perfect but insightful and illuminating about a slice of life that I knew little about. The genre could be called "immersion" reporting, where the reporter lives with his or her subjects for an extended time to better understand their situations. Barbara Ehrenrich pioneered this with books like "Nickled and Dimed". Nomadland could also be seen as one of the recent variants of efforts to understand the 2016 election - to get to know disenchanted voters This was an interesting book. It is far from perfect but insightful and illuminating about a slice of life that I knew little about. The genre could be called "immersion" reporting, where the reporter lives with his or her subjects for an extended time to better understand their situations. Barbara Ehrenrich pioneered this with books like "Nickled and Dimed". Nomadland could also be seen as one of the recent variants of efforts to understand the 2016 election - to get to know disenchanted voters and their situations since the financial crisis of 2008. This political angle is not very explicit in Ms. Bruder's interesting book, but it is an obvious linkage that places Nomadland in the same context as "Hillbilly Elegy," "Evicted,", "Janesville," and "Strangers in their own Land."The focus of Bruder's multi year story is one the growing numbers of largely older Americans who are giving up steady life and mortgages and buying trailers and mobile homes and then migrating to various sites for temporary work. The focus of this study is on Amazon's "Camper Force" program to employ these older and experienced workers to help; in peak season for their warehouses "fulfillment" centers. As an economic story, this also overlaps with the development of the "gig" economy and the explosive growth of such firms as Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB.Bruner focuses on a small set of characters that she follows over the course of the narrative. Into this she adds broader content about the over trends and what they imply for America today. There is little doubt that Ms. Bruner has a perspective on these developments and that she is worried about what they imply for these people and from the broader economy. That is OK - every author has a perspective - and is entitled to it. She comes across as balanced in the narrative. This does not mean that the individuals she focuses on are saints or that employers such as Amazon are villains. Rather, she sees this line of temporary employment as a reasonable option that these reasonable people choose to meet their situations. On the flip side, she does neither vilifies nor exonerates Amazon. This is a broad trend by which the economy is adapting to recent crises and lowered growth.The threat with this sort of account is that the journalist will get captured by his or her subjects but that did not happen here - it is OK to feel sympathetic and still possible to work for a balanced and clear eyed examination. This overall effect is bolstered by Ms. Bruder's efforts to tell the stories of these new migrants - and how they are similar and different from prior waves (the dust bowl) without getting distracted by partisan name calling. Doing so might have felt better, but would have harmed the book.Nomadland is a worthwhile book and an easy read. It is worth reading just to keep up with the growing media coverage of how older Americans are adapting to a retirement that is no longer a stool, but instead, as Bruder quotes, a pogo stick. This is not the last word but it is worthwhile.
    more
  • Debbi DuBose
    January 1, 1970
    I won NOMADLAND : Surviving America in the Twenty-first Century through a Goodreads Giveaway. This non-fiction book by award winning journalist, Jessica Bruder, is a book that all Americans need to read!! What has happened to the middle class in this country is atrocious! I know I was once a part of it; and I worry everyday about what will happen to us in retirement. We are part of those who lost everything, including retirement, in the last recession. So I see these nomads as heroes! Why? Becau I won NOMADLAND : Surviving America in the Twenty-first Century through a Goodreads Giveaway. This non-fiction book by award winning journalist, Jessica Bruder, is a book that all Americans need to read!! What has happened to the middle class in this country is atrocious! I know I was once a part of it; and I worry everyday about what will happen to us in retirement. We are part of those who lost everything, including retirement, in the last recession. So I see these nomads as heroes! Why? Because they are survivors, that's why! I have a disability, and could not do what they do.... but I honor them for what they are doing. They've discovered an alternative lifestyle that has its perks and downsides, too. Life always does. I'd go this route in a heartbeat, if I was able to. Bruder has written a very readable true story, using the life stories, of several wonderful people! It appears that this RV'er lifestyle is here to stay, at least for the forsee able future. All Americans should absolutely read this book!!
    more
  • Marika
    January 1, 1970
    This book is an investigative look at the increasing number of Americans who live in RVs, campers, vans and sometimes small cars. The majority of these new nomads don't choose this life, but rather circumstances have forced them to adapt to it. The reasons are many and as varied as the individual, and include job downsizing, devastating divorces and massives losses on the stock market. Readers will be shocked to learn the role that prominent institutions play in the hiring practices of these wan This book is an investigative look at the increasing number of Americans who live in RVs, campers, vans and sometimes small cars. The majority of these new nomads don't choose this life, but rather circumstances have forced them to adapt to it. The reasons are many and as varied as the individual, and include job downsizing, devastating divorces and massives losses on the stock market. Readers will be shocked to learn the role that prominent institutions play in the hiring practices of these wanderers. Well written, and an exciting read. Perfect example of nonfiction that reads like fiction.
    more
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    I work at a library, and we received this as an ARC. Any references I make might be corrected in the final printing. I received no compensation for reading this or reviewing it.This is one of those books that I'm going to be digesting for several days. The writer has a fantastic voice, and even when going through facts and figures, it's never bogged down. The flow is good, the people she follows and interviews for this are fascinating. And she raises a lot of questions that don't have good answe I work at a library, and we received this as an ARC. Any references I make might be corrected in the final printing. I received no compensation for reading this or reviewing it.This is one of those books that I'm going to be digesting for several days. The writer has a fantastic voice, and even when going through facts and figures, it's never bogged down. The flow is good, the people she follows and interviews for this are fascinating. And she raises a lot of questions that don't have good answers. One thing that sticks with me, is that companies want these older, migrant workers, praising them for their work ethic. But at the same time, they treat them like crap. These people are short term employees, sometimes working dangerous jobs, often working physically taxing jobs, for 10+ hours at a time, and even though they have cut one of the main expenses - rent/mortgage - they still seem to be living job to job. It's not all dreary. They do have gatherings, and if things go bad, they often have friends that have become family to help them out.The book raises a lot of good questions about this new nomadic work force, from an often aging population, and what it takes, as well as how we got here. I plan on recommending this to a lot of people. At the heart, it's good journalism as it lets the people lead the story. It'd be an interesting books for discussions.
    more
  • Biblio Files
    January 1, 1970
    Next time you're at WalMart or any big box store, look at the far end of the parking lot. Chances are, there are a few motorhomes or campers there, maybe a couple of vans. So what, people have to shop, right? But look again. Was that van there the last time you were here, too? Slowly it dawns on you that someone is living in the camper. Jessica Bruder, a magazine journalist, spent three years researching the growing phenomenon of people, mostly of retirement age, living in their vehicles. While Next time you're at WalMart or any big box store, look at the far end of the parking lot. Chances are, there are a few motorhomes or campers there, maybe a couple of vans. So what, people have to shop, right? But look again. Was that van there the last time you were here, too? Slowly it dawns on you that someone is living in the camper. Jessica Bruder, a magazine journalist, spent three years researching the growing phenomenon of people, mostly of retirement age, living in their vehicles. While many embrace the Route 66-type freedom, few would have chosen to make it their way of life. They were forced by financial circumstances to give up their homes or apartments and living in a vehicle allows them some shelter, some mobility, and an excuse to claim that they are not actually homeless, just "houseless." Many are itinerant workers, moving to an area near an Amazon warehouse in the months before Christmas, to make minimum wage packing boxes, then on to sugar beet farms at harvest time to pick produce for minimum wage. Bruder profiles some of the nomads, tries it out for herself for a while, finds out how and why they do it, and leaves the conclusions up to the reader. It's a fascinating story and shocking. And it scares me more than a little to think that with just a bit of bad luck, it could be me. Or you.
    more
  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    This is equal parts a fantastic glimpse into a non-traditional lifestyle and a (subjectively) damning commentary on how the American middle class is diminishing with jobs with no benefits or security. I say subjectively because Bruder tries to stay as objective as possible in her recounting of the triumphs and hardships the van-dwellers experience. And there is a lot for the people mentioned in the book to celebrate. There is generally an optimistic vibe to the whole book, a sense of what I imag This is equal parts a fantastic glimpse into a non-traditional lifestyle and a (subjectively) damning commentary on how the American middle class is diminishing with jobs with no benefits or security. I say subjectively because Bruder tries to stay as objective as possible in her recounting of the triumphs and hardships the van-dwellers experience. And there is a lot for the people mentioned in the book to celebrate. There is generally an optimistic vibe to the whole book, a sense of what I imagine the hippies may have experienced in the 1960s and '70s (and may still feel today) - that you have people who are turning their lives around and reclaiming them for what they believe in. But this also feels like a warning, with these economic and social changes we're all undergoing, van-dwelling or something like it could be in the future for your family, your friends or even yourself. But this may just be my more visceral reaction to the fact that I would never want to live like the van-dwellers do, and the not-so-subtle fear I just may have to in order to survive in America's future. Overall, an important read for anyone living in America today. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-ARC in exchange for a review.
    more
  • Lalitha
    January 1, 1970
    Sobering and in some parts, frankly terrifying look at post-retirement in 21st century America. Jessica Bruder's investigative reporting was impeccable and I was especially impressed with her stealth reporting on Amazon's Workforce practices. I have to be honest, I was shaken by this book because I know lots of folks who have saved and saved their whole lives, are rapidly approaching retirement, and may not be able to sustain a basic lifestyle without having to work themselves to death. Really s Sobering and in some parts, frankly terrifying look at post-retirement in 21st century America. Jessica Bruder's investigative reporting was impeccable and I was especially impressed with her stealth reporting on Amazon's Workforce practices. I have to be honest, I was shaken by this book because I know lots of folks who have saved and saved their whole lives, are rapidly approaching retirement, and may not be able to sustain a basic lifestyle without having to work themselves to death. Really scary. My takeaway was that there needs to be a definite paradigm shift in how we treat our elderly citizens. People who say they enjoy being on the road and living an itinerant lifestyle at 65+ years of age are seriously lying to themselves and that's heartbreaking. A must-read.
    more
  • T.L.
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn’t put this book down. The topic was much more interesting than I expected, but in part it was just that the author had really done her job. She put years into the research and gave us a well-written story. She was a lot more sympathetic with some of the people she encountered than I would have, but you couldn’t help but want the best for each one. I wanted to meet each one of them and now wonder how they are doing today. She follows several women who live as nomads. Women are often over I couldn’t put this book down. The topic was much more interesting than I expected, but in part it was just that the author had really done her job. She put years into the research and gave us a well-written story. She was a lot more sympathetic with some of the people she encountered than I would have, but you couldn’t help but want the best for each one. I wanted to meet each one of them and now wonder how they are doing today. She follows several women who live as nomads. Women are often overlooked. She focuses on older people, who are also overlooked. I found Amazon’s personnel practices surprising, and beet harvesting was an eye-opener. This book is a great way to visit unique parts of our country and our society.
    more
  • Joe
    January 1, 1970
    Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century was an informative book that discusses how some of the casualties of the Great Recession manage to survive after losing their homes and jobs. The author spends significant time with those of us that ran out of the usual options for surviving but move into used RV's, small towable vehicles, VAN or their Cars, living on seasonal jobs as they scratch out an existence, but still try to find some joy and happiness. The author, Jessica Bruder, d Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century was an informative book that discusses how some of the casualties of the Great Recession manage to survive after losing their homes and jobs. The author spends significant time with those of us that ran out of the usual options for surviving but move into used RV's, small towable vehicles, VAN or their Cars, living on seasonal jobs as they scratch out an existence, but still try to find some joy and happiness. The author, Jessica Bruder, does a good job of showing the struggles and successes of those among us that are often overlooked and scorned by the rest of society, but the reality is that unless you are wealth anyone in the middle class could be joining them in their struggle to survive.
    more
  • Danielle Coryell
    January 1, 1970
    As someone whose own father is planning on living 6 months a year in a travel trailer, I dissected this book carefully and thoughtfully. While his situation will not be as dire as some of those featured in this book, he will have to deal with the struggles that many of them faced like finding safe places to sleep, possible car repairs and maintenance, and loneliness. Jessica Bruder's own submersion into this community gives her a great opportunity to be able to tell their stories. She gained the As someone whose own father is planning on living 6 months a year in a travel trailer, I dissected this book carefully and thoughtfully. While his situation will not be as dire as some of those featured in this book, he will have to deal with the struggles that many of them faced like finding safe places to sleep, possible car repairs and maintenance, and loneliness. Jessica Bruder's own submersion into this community gives her a great opportunity to be able to tell their stories. She gained the trust and respect of these travelers by living in her own van, "Halen". I will never again look at those who are "houseless" the same. To quote the foreword of this book: "Being human means yearning for more than subsistence. As much as food or shelter, we require hope".
    more
  • Josie
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic book about the new "retirement". You can't afford a home anymore so you live in an RV, camper, van, or even a Prius. You work seasonal jobs that don't pay crap to fill your gas tank and eat. You pray you don't get sick. You pray your rig doesn't break down. This book lays it all out, but it doesn't ask for your pity. These folks feel a certain freedom, free from home owning headaches and all the crap that stuffs those homes. But it is a precarious existence. You are houseless (not home Fantastic book about the new "retirement". You can't afford a home anymore so you live in an RV, camper, van, or even a Prius. You work seasonal jobs that don't pay crap to fill your gas tank and eat. You pray you don't get sick. You pray your rig doesn't break down. This book lays it all out, but it doesn't ask for your pity. These folks feel a certain freedom, free from home owning headaches and all the crap that stuffs those homes. But it is a precarious existence. You are houseless (not homeless) in a society that looks down on you if you don't live in one. I suggest this book to any and all. It is wonderfully written and you will breeze right through the pages.
    more
  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book on Goodreads. A very interesting book about the lives of people living in RVs, vans and cars due to economic hardship. I knew people were living that way but I didn't realize how many. I often feel like doing it myself, just to get away from the everyday hustle and bustle of the world. Just to be by myself doing what I want, and going to where I want to go just wishing people would leave me alone and allow me to be free and unencumbered. A worthwhile read.
    more
  • Shirley Cagle
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting read about a growing sub-culture of van and camper dwellers living in subsistence conditions. The author immersed herself in this culture over several years and it plainly shows in her candid but gentle treatment of her subjects-turned-friends. Her narrative draws you through the life stories of numerous people, forced mostly through job loss or retirement, into a low- or no-rent living alternative, supplementing their incomes through minimum-wage, seasonal jobs.
    more
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Are you aware that there are hundreds of retired people who are essentially homeless, living in vans, campers and RV's and shuttling from temporary job to temporary work at places like Amazon filling your orders for junk? Living hand to mouth these people are the canaries in the mine of our economic system. I urge you to read this book.
    more
  • Janilyn Kocher
    January 1, 1970
    Nomandland covers the reality of many Americans living off the grid. Most are hard luck cases and survive in their RVs, vans, cars and trucks working at various jobs and migrating from camp to camp. It's an entire subculture that was very intriguing to read about. Most are seniors and subsisting off very meager monthly stipends. Thanks to NetGalley for the copy
    more
  • Janice
    January 1, 1970
    An unsettling and frightening look into the lives of poor folks, mostly older women, living on the fringe. A bad decision here, a bit of bad luck there, throw in a health problem and before you know it you've lost your house and you are living in a van or a car or an RV.
    more
  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most eye-opening books I've read in a long time. This is a deep portrait of a portion of the society and the economy you don't ever hear about, and may not know exists.
  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    Startling account of a way of life in America that's becoming more common. I wish parts of the book had been organized/edited differently, but the reporting was fantastic. Great work by the author.
Write a review