Alissa Quart is an acclaimed author and journalist and the executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a journalism non-profit devoted to reporting on inequality whose current incarnation she founded with Barbara Ehrenreich. She is an expert on social class and the family. Quart’s non-fiction books, Branded, Hothouse Kids, and Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers and Rebels have been translated into 14 languages. Quart’s newest book, Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America (Ecco) weaves together intimate reporting with sharp and lively critique to show how the high cost of parenthood and our increasingly unstable job market have imploded the middle-class American Dream for many families, and offers surprising solutions for how we might change things.
Quart examines the lives of middle-class Americans who can now barely afford to raise children. Through gripping storytelling and elegant prose, Quart shows how our country has failed its families. Her subjects—from professors to lawyers to caregivers to nurses—have been wrung out by a system that doesn’t support them, and enriches only a tiny elite. Interlacing her own experience with close-up reporting on families that are just getting by, Quart reveals parenthood itself to be financially overwhelming, except for the wealthiest. She also provides real solutions, outlining necessary policy shifts, as well as detailing the DIY tactics some families have embraced. And she offers a blue print for helping us to see parenting and caregiving as truly valuable, not only emotionally but professionally and politically. Powerfully argued, deeply reported, and ultimately hopeful, it casts a bright, clarifying light on families struggling to thrive in an economy that holds too few options. It will make readers think differently about their lives and those of their neighbors.
A prominent presence on the speaking circuit, Quart speaks on a range of subjects from the value of thinking and living differently to issues that confront working women.
As a journalist. Quart currently writes the Outclassed column for The Guardian. She has written features and reported opinion pieces for many publications, including The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Nation, O Magazine, and The New York Review of Books.
As a poet, she has been published by the London Review of Books, The Nation and many other places and in the poetry book, Monetized. Quart resides in Brooklyn with her family.
Praise for Squeezed:
“We are constantly told that America is the land where anyone can make it if they just work hard and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Squeezed, devastatingly exposes that lie by telling real, human stories. Teachers have to drive for hire in their off-hours, robots perform the labor of health-care workers, college professors with PhDs rely on food stamps, while big tech corporations rake in record profits by “innovating” us into a violent, modern-day caste system. Quart’s investigation, written with the elegance of a literary novel, forces us to examine the grave consequences of an economic structure that has crushed the very people it claims are at the heart of the American dream.”
—Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater and Dirty Wars
“Alissa Quart deftly chronicles the plight of Americans confronting the dangerous rise of Middle Class financial instability. The stories she passionately reports are heart-wrenching. They are also a clear warning that this nation is heading in a perilous direction. Squeezed is journalism at its best: exploratory, visceral, and searching for answers. An important work to which attention should—and must—be paid.”
—David Corn, author of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump
“A vivid prose stylist, Quart makes powerfully real what happens when those who were once middle class can now only window shop for the American Dream. She also offers crucial collective plans to get us out of our anguishing binds.”
—Arlie Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
“Brilliant—a keen, elegantly written, and scorching account of the American family today. Through vivid stories, sharp analysis and wit, Quart anatomizes the middle class’s fall while also offering solutions and hope.”
—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
“If you’ve ever felt the pinch of financial anxiety—and chances are you have—read this book now. Alissa Quart will help you realize that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. Squeezed is profound, a sweeping, blistering portrait of hard-working people from all walks of life. It’s a rousing wake up call that also points the way forward to a more equitable, expansive future.”
—Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform
“Alissa Quart is a modern James Agee. Squeezed gets deep inside the increasingly perilous financial lives of American families showing that they are collateral damage of our disappearing government. A damning, necessary and intensely vital book.”
—Helaine Olen, author of Pound Foolish