Bookshelf: April 12, 2013

Behind the Kitchen Door

By Saru Jayaraman (April 12, 2013) - "How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions--discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens--affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? Saru Jayaraman, who launched the national restaurant workers' organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, sets out to answer these questions by following the lives of restaurant workers in New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Detroit, and New Orleans. Blending personal narrative and investigative journalism, Jayaraman shows us that the quality of the food that arrives at our restaurant tables depends not only on the sourcing of the ingredients. Our meals benefit from the attention and skill of the people who chop, grill, sauté, and serve. Behind the Kitchen Door is a groundbreaking exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of dining out. Highlighting the roles of the 10 million people, many immigrants, many people of color, who bring their passion, tenacity, and vision to the American dining experience, Jayaraman sets out a bold agenda to raise the living standards of the nation's second-largest private sector workforce--and ensure that dining out is a positive experience on both sides of the kitchen door." (ILR Press)

 
'Living for 32'

Featuring Colin Goddard (April 12, 2013) - "On a snowy, windy April day in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007, young Americans pursued a college education and their teachers engaged in providing it to them. Thirty-two of them died, 17 more were wounded, and six more were injured jumping out of windows. Their lives had collided with that of a tortured loner, whom a judge had written was "fundamentally ill and in need of hospitalization, and presents an eminent danger to self or others as a result of mental illness," or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for self. One of those wounded was a 21-year-old senior International Studies major from Richmond, Virginia, named Colin Goddard. Goddard played a unique role in the horrific drama that played out at Virginia Tech University on that blustery April day: he was the only person within the building to call the police. Urged by his French professor to dial 911 as the crackle of gunfire came closer to the door of their classroom, Goddard made the call. Shot for the first time, he passed the phone to a classmate who gave the police enough information to get them to the scene three minutes later. Police got into the building, which had been barricaded, six minutes after that. For all the terrible damage that the killer did, the toll of lost lives might have been much higher if it were not for the 911 call started by Colin Goddard and continued by Emily Haas. After recovering and finishing his degree, Colin Goddard decided he was going to volunteer for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation's largest gun control organization. And he was going to convince them to sponsor him in wearing a hidden camera and going undercover into gun shows all across America, to prove how easy it is for anyone to buy a gun, with no identification, no Brady background check, and just a wad of cash. Living for 32 is his story." (Cuomo Cole Productions)

 
The Great Deformation

By David A. Stockman (April 12, 2013) - "David Stockman was the architect of the Reagan Revolution meant to restore sound money principles to the U.S. government. It failed, derailed by politics, special interests, welfare, and warfare. In The Great Deformation Stockman describes how the working of free markets and democracy has long been under threat in America, and provides a nonpartisan, surprising catalog of the corrupters and defenders. His analysis overturns the assumptions of Keynesians and monetarists alike, showing how both "liberal" and "neo-conservative" interference in markets has proved damaging and often dangerous. Over time, crony capitalism has made fools of us all, transforming Republican treasury secretaries into big government interventionists, and populist Democrat presidents into industry wrecking internationalists. Today's national debt stands at nearly $16 trillion. Divided equally among taxpayers, each of us is $52,000 in debt. This book explains how we got here-and why this warped crony capitalism has betrayed so many of our hopes and dreams." (PublicAffairs)