Glass House

Glass House

The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town

Book - 2017
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For readers of Hillbilly Elegy and Strangers in Their Own Land

**A New York Post Must-Read Book, a Newsweek Best New Book, one of The Week 's 20 Books to Read in 2017, one of Bustle 's 16 Best Nonfiction Books Coming in February 2017, Best Non-Fiction/2017 Books by the Banks**

"A devastating portrait...For anyone wondering why swing-state America voted against the establishment in 2016, Mr. Alexander supplies plenty of answers." -- The Wall Street Journal

"This book hunts bigger game." --Laura Miller, Slate

In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all-American town. Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future. In Glass House , journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion.

The Anchor Hocking Glass Company, once the world's largest maker of glass tableware, was the base on which Lancaster's society was built. As Glass House unfolds, bankruptcy looms. With access to the company and its leaders, and Lancaster's citizens, Alexander shows how financial engineering took hold in the 1980s, accelerated in the 21st Century, and wrecked the company. We follow CEO Sam Solomon, an African-American leading the nearly all-white town's biggest private employer, as he tries to rescue the company from the New York private equity firm that hired him. Meanwhile, Alexander goes behind the scenes, entwined with the lives of residents as they wrestle with heroin, politics, high-interest lenders, low wage jobs, technology, and the new demands of American life: people like Brian Gossett, the fourth generation to work at Anchor Hocking; Joe Piccolo, first-time director of the annual music festival who discovers the town relies on him, and it, for salvation; Jason Roach, who police believed may have been Lancaster's biggest drug dealer; and Eric Brown, a local football hero-turned-cop who comes to realize that he can never arrest Lancaster's real problems.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250085801
Characteristics: xiv, 320 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Jul 14, 2017

A stunning indictment of the vulture capitalism growing out of 1980s Reaganism. I have disagreed with some of StarGladiator’s other comments I have read, but he is dead-on in his February review. The level of personal story-telling is so detailed that one might think it is fiction, but the author lived in Lancaster, the Forbes’ magazine’s “All-American Town,” and did lots of interviews and research to substantiate everything in the book.

A press conference yesterday included a comment from Tom Price on the opioid crisis. Pondering what social conditions could cause people to turn to drugs, he said that he couldn’t understand why so many Americans have lost hope. Read this book, Tom, and then consider what part your politics has played in the crisis.

May 16, 2017

You should add 50% to your planned reading time because you'll get mad enough to want to pace around and work through it before you continue (-:

Feb 22, 2017

**************100-STARRED REVIEW *****************

"Corporate elites said they needed free-trade agreements, so they got them. Manufacturers said they needed tax breaks and public money incentives in order to keep their plants operating in the USA, so they got them. Banks and financiers needed looser regulations, so they got them. Employers said they needed weaker unions - or no unions at all - so they got them. Private equity firms said they needed carried interest and secrecy, so they got them. What did Lancaster and a hundred other town like it get? Job losses, slashed wages, poor civic leadership, social dysfunction, drugs."
I believe this book, together with David Dayen's book, Chain of Title, are the two finest books of the 21st century to date!
[The guy's a good writer, too: // . . their loins filled with longing. \\ ]
Please pay especially close attention to pp. 50 -- 51, classic private equity/leveraged buyout and financial engineering deviltry; increasing costs and debt to profit the PE banksters and destroy America. I have read, heard and observed this situation almost countless times by 2017 - - it is beyond obscene, beyond criminal, beyond amoral!
Also please note p. 84 and pp. 143 -- 147, which clearly demonstrates the klepto-plutocracy in action, or at least a microcosmic POV of it!
This is an excellent primer for the dismantling of America and the Satan's personal enterprise: private equity/lbo and hedge funds! Brian Alexander [a guy, not a gal, Publishers Weekly critic - - can't even get the gender right!] has done some incredible research into this book! Incredible . . .


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