Living on the Edge in the World’s Richest Country

Edited by Alissa Quart and David Wallis

Haymarket Books (October 3, 2023)

Trade paper • ISBN-13: 9781642599657  • US $19.95 • 5.5 in x 8.5 in • 368 pgs.


A collection of immersive and hard-hitting essays, poems, and photography that provide an honest reckoning with economic hardship in the U.S.—and the systems that perpetuate it.

In the tradition of the Federal Writers’ Project of the 1930s, Going for Broke, edited by Economic Hardship Reporting Project directors Alissa Quart and David Wallis, assembles the experiences of Americans who are living on the edge. A grocery store worker describes the job of an “essential worker” during the pandemic; a veteran details his experience with homelessness and the comprehensive approach to care that would have helped him. One writer recounts the lessons she’s learned shopping at thrift stores; another details how inequality in maternal healthcare left her with undiagnosed postpartum PTSD. Personal stories of these writers and artists reflect the larger systems that have made their bodily experiences, their families, their homes, their work, and their social class profoundly challenging. EHRP founder Barbara Ehrenreich once wrote, “As a journalist, I search for the truth. But as a moral person, I am also obliged to do something about it.” Featuring introductions by Camoghne Felix, Michelle Tea, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Kathi Weeks, and Astra Taylor, Going for Broke offers first-hand accounts that document the reality of the US, even as it fractures into a place some of us no longer recognize. With their stories and their truths, these journalists point us toward collective policies, solutions, and action. 


Alissa Quart is the Executive Director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, created with her close collaborator, the late Barbara Ehrenreich. She is also the author of five acclaimed books of nonfiction including the forthcoming Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream, Squeezed, Republic of Outsiders, Hothouse Kids, and Branded. She has written for many publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and TIME. She has also produced a number of documentary films, including “Jackson.” Quart has won an Emmy, an SPJ award, and received a Nieman fellowship, among other honors. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.

David Wallis is the Managing Director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. He previously served as opinion editor of the Forward and deputy editor of The New York Observer. He has contributed to the New Yorker, Slate, The Washington Post and The New York Times, and has edited two critically acclaimed books, Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot To Print and Killed Cartoons: Casualties from the War on Free Expression. In 2000, he founded, an online syndication service that pays the majority of proceeds to contributors. 


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