"This emotionally wrenching work is a much-needed reminder of the need to attend to those who are marginalized, even in the 'best' of times. All collections." Choice
"As usual, Cottle writes with an artist's skill, a social scientist's psychological and social consciousness. He is a wonderful story-teller; he catches life's subtleties, nuances, daily, hum-drum drama. He also is a skilled and thoughtful interviewer, observer, psychological analyst. He is doing important, revealing, original, and scholarly work, and doing it in a most unusual and brilliant manner."
Headline news of the day, the affect of long-term unemployment on the lives of American workers and their families, remains one of the most difficult issues, one that clearly has relevance for millions of our citizens. In Hardest Times: The Trauma of Long-Term Unemployment, Thomas J. Cottle captures the lives of American workers no longer receiving compensation or insurance benefits, people no longer known to the American public. By focusing on the trauma of unemployment, Cottle reveals how workers and their families are defined and given life by work, and what it means, therefore, to be without work and have few prospects for future employment.
Not surprisingly during the recent recession and rise of unemployment, Hardest Times has been discovered by a host of journalists and commentators.
US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, 2009
FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/23/2009
INDIAN EXPRESS, 12/1/2009
COMMUNITY REFLECTIONS, 7/29/09
HARDEST TIMES has also be cited recently in:
About ten years ago, I received a phone call late in the evening. It was from a woman, who, along with her husband and I, had enjoyed many conversations about a host of matters, not the least of which was his unemployment history, at the time in its third year. Unlike many families I have come to know doing research on unemployment, Alfred and Bernice Syre, people in their fifties, spoke openly and forthrightly about their lives. Apparently they had no problem conversing about Alfreds unemployment and his bladder illness which both alleged had been caused by his not working. They spoke as well of Bernices good fortune in the labor market, so some of their stories contained silver linings.
There wasnt a thing I couldnt ask the Syres, not a subject, moreover, that Alfred himself did not broach. If I wished to explore physical symptoms, mood swings, fantasies, sexual behavior, or the lack of it more likely, this was the family to ask. It always appeared that Alfred and Bernice had made a successful adjustment to Alfreds inability to regain regular employment. His spirits rose and fell, but he always claimed to be optimistic, something good, he insisted, would eventually come his way. More importantly, he appeared reasonably content with the adjustments he made in his life. If Bernice were to continue as the familys bread winner, then so be it. They would be all right.
Then came the telephone call on a freezing January night. [continue]
Chapter 1. MR. HOUSEWIFE U.S.A.: Kenneth Hawkins