"The manuscript provides an insightful and sensitive account of the social and psychological consequences of unemployment, particularly during the longest economic expansion in the history of the United States, reaffirms Cottle's position as one of the more astute observers of and commentators on the poignant experiences of ordinary individuals."
"Cottle's writing is unsparing, tough and insightful...To my way of thinking this is his best and most mature work. Hardest Times is a major contribution to our understanding of men, of work, and of the shattering trauma that men experience when work is denied."
"[Hardest Times] has Cottle's usual ability to make real to a reader the subjective experiences of his respondents. It displays, too, his ability to use psychological theory to deepen the discussion so that the reader can understand why his respondents respond as they do. Cottle has always written evocatively and well, but here he has an issue about which he feels passionately, and that makes him write especially vivid. He gives voice to men and whom he has come to care about."
"[This] work brings us face to face with the lived reality of poverty and unemployment. In the midst of our current, and surely short-lived, celebration of unprecedented prosperity, we need to hear the voices Tom Cottle has recorded, if only to be better prepared for the travails that await us."
"Hardest Times...brings something new and significant to our understanding of the problems of long term unemployment. Cottle's trenchant and penetrating portraits of unemployed men alone are worth examining as only researchers like Robert Coles, Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, Oscar Lewis and Jonathan Kozol present material in such compelling, poignant and vivid fashion...Additionally, these portraits coupled with Cottle's enlightening and provocative theoretical analysis will make Hardest Times a notable book that will take its place among the most significant contributions to the literature on the sociology and psychology of work, male identity, bereavement and trauma."