The Moral Underground
How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy
By Lisa Dodson
New Press, Hardcover, 9781595584724, 227pp.
Publication Date: December 2009
List Price: $24.95*
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Called a "fascinating exploration of economic civil disobedience" by "Publishers Weekly," Lisa Dodson's stunning book "The Moral Underground" features stories of middle-class managers and professionals who refuse to be complicit in an economy that puts a decent life beyond the reach of the working poor. Whether it's a nurse choosing to treat an uninsured child, a supervisor padding a paycheck, or a restaurant manager sneaking food to a worker's children, these unsung heroes reach across the economic fault line to restore a sense of justice to the working world.
This vivid account of working-class America is based on Dodson's eight years of research and conversations with hundreds of Americans about the need to create ethical alternatives to rules that ignore the humanity of working parents and put their children and risk.
If only this book had been published in 2007. Then the hundreds of people interviewed by Lisa Dodson would have been able to pass along an important piece of advice: What’s good for business is not necessarily good for America.
Eloquent, rational analysis Dodson writes clearly and unsentimentally. Important, encouraging reporting.
Here is the documentary tradition at its very best an alertly knowing inquirer and observer learns from a nation’s vulnerable and needy citizens how they keep striving to persist, make do, no matter the difficulties in their way (social, economic, political, and yes, alas, those grounded in senseless and callous bureaucratic rules, regulations). Here, too, is human resiliency, ingenuity put on record for us to consider, by a resourceful, knowing, and large-hearted teacher and writer.
Robert Coles, Professor Emeritus Harvard University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Children in Crisis” series
This beautiful and poignant book uses the voices of ordinary Americans to trace a deep cultural divide between those who feel moral obligations to others and those who don't. It goes beyond an account of the tender mercies people often provide one another to show how mercy itself can subvert dominant economic logic. It quietly urges us all toward a more profound understanding of our need for a stronger culture of resistance.
Nancy Folbre, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and author of The Invisible Heart