New Books Network

Joseph Nathan Cohen

Financial Crisis in American Households

The Basic Expenses That Bankrupt the Middle Class

Praeger 2017

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network January 30, 2018 Sarah Patterson

Are iPhones or homes bankrupting Americans? Joe Cohen‘s new book, Financial Crisis in American Households: The Basic Expenses That Bankrupt the Middle Class (Praeger,...

Are iPhones or homes bankrupting Americans? Joe Cohen‘s new book, Financial Crisis in American Households: The Basic Expenses That Bankrupt the Middle Class (Praeger, 2017), presents data and discussion on the financial status of American households. The book considers whether capitalism or government policies are to blame. Cohen considers the historical changes that have taken place in America, including the post WWII economy, globalization, and technological advances. Rather than focus on individual spending, Cohen argues that we need to take a structural approach and also do some cross-country comparison to truly understand the financial reality of American households. This book also provides interesting discussion around how we even measure financial well-being and hardship, for instance the distinction between officially poor according to federal government limits versus relative poverty. Overall, using clear examples and data illustrations, Cohen presents a comprehensive and historical overview of the financial states of American households and provides readers with some important takeaways and questions that we must ask ourselves if we want to build a better America.

This book will be enjoyed by sociologists, but also those interested in economics and public policy. It would be good for any social inequality or stratification class. It provides clear examples and typologies, which would be useful for any higher level undergraduate sociology class.


Sarah E. Patterson is a postdoc at The University of Western Ontario. You can tweet her at @spattersearch.