Nickel and Dimed (Ehrenreich)

Author Bio 
Birth—August 26, 1941
Where—Butte, Montana, USA
Education—B.A., Reed College; Ph.D., Rockefeller University
Currently—lives in Alexandra, Virginia

Barbara Ehrenreich an American author best known for Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (2001). She is also the author of Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (2005), This Land Is Their Land: Reports From a Divided Nation (2008), Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever's Search for the Truth about Everything (2014) and numerous other books. A frequent contributer to Time, Harper's, Esquire, The New Republic, Mirabella, Nation, and New York Times Magazine, she lives near Key West, Florida.

Ehrenreich was born Barbara Alexander to Isabelle Oxley and Ben Alexander. Her father was a copper miner who went on to study at Carnegie Mellon University and who eventually became an executive at the Gillette Corporation. Ehrenreich studied physics at Reed College, graduating in 1963. Her senior thesis was entitled Electrochemical oscillations of the silicon anode. In 1968, she received a Ph.D in cellular biology from Rockefeller University.

Citing her interest in social change, she opted for political activism instead of pursuing a scientific career. She met her first husband, John Ehrenreich, during an anti-war activism campaign in New York City.

In 1970, her first child, Rosa (now Rosa Brooks), was born. Her second child, Benjamin, was born in 1972. Barbara and John divorced and in 1983 she married Gary Stevenson, a warehouse employee who later became a union organizer. She divorced Stevenson in the early 1990s.

From 1991 to 1997, Ehrenreich was a regular columnist for Time magazine. Currently, she contributes regularly to The Progressive and has also written for the New York Times, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, The New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times,, and other publications.

In 1998, the American Humanist Association named her the Humanist of the Year.

In 1998 and 2000, she taught essay writing at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 2004, Ehrenreich wrote a month-long guest column for the New York Times while regular columnist Thomas Friedman was on leave and she was invited to stay on as a columnist. She declined, saying that she preferred to spend her time more on long-term activities, such as book-writing.

Ehrenreich was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after the release of her book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. In her article "Welcome to Cancerland," published in the November 2001 issue of Harper's Magazine, she describes her breast cancer experience and debates the medical industry's problems with the issue of breast cancer.

In 2006, Ehrenreich founded United Professionals, an organization described as "a nonprofit, non-partisan membership organization for white-collar workers, regardless of profession or employment status. We reach out to all unemployed, underemployed, and anxiously employed workers—people who bought the American dream that education and credentials could lead to a secure middle class life, but now find their lives disrupted by forces beyond their control."

Ehrenreich is currently an honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. She also serves on the NORML Board of Directors and The Nation's Editorial Board. ("More" from Wikipedia.)

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