Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town

Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town

Brian Alexander / Dec 09, 2019

Glass House The % Economy and the Shattering of the All American Town In Forbes magazine declared Lancaster Ohio the epitome of the all American town Today it is damaged discouraged and fighting for its future In Glass House journalist Brian Alexander uses the

  • Title: Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town
  • Author: Brian Alexander
  • ISBN: 9781250085801
  • Page: 451
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all American town Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future In Glass House, journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion.The Anchor Hocking Glass Company, onceIn 1947, Forbes magazine declared Lancaster, Ohio the epitome of the all American town Today it is damaged, discouraged, and fighting for its future In Glass House, journalist Brian Alexander uses the story of one town to show how seeds sown 35 years ago have sprouted to give us Trumpism, inequality, and an eroding national cohesion.The Anchor Hocking Glass Company, once the world s largest maker of glass tableware, was the base on which Lancaster s society was built As Glass House unfolds, bankruptcy looms With access to the company and its leaders, and Lancaster s citizens, Alexander shows how financial engineering took hold in the 1980s, accelerated in the 21st Century, and wrecked the company We follow CEO Sam Solomon as he tries to rescue the company from the New York private equity firm that hired him Meanwhile, Alexander goes behind the scenes, entwined with the lives of residents as they wrestle with heroin, politics, high interest lenders, low wage jobs, technology, and the new demands of American life people like Brian Gossett, the fourth generation to work at Anchor Hocking Joe Piccolo, first time director of the annual music festival who discovers the town relies on him, and it, for salvation Jason Roach, who police believed may have been Lancaster s biggest drug dealer and Eric Brown, a local football hero turned cop who comes to realize that he can never arrest Lancaster s real problems.

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      Published :2018-09-25T22:14:13+00:00

    About "Brian Alexander"

      • Brian Alexander

        Brian Alexander Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town book, this is one of the most wanted Brian Alexander author readers around the world.


    178 Comments

    1. The "Hocking" in Anchor Hocking is the name of the river that I could see from the window in my childhood bedroom, less than an hour south of Lancaster. This book tells a story that is very important to me, personally. I have millions of thoughts on this book and I will eventually coalesce them into something coherent, but for now just let me say: fuck Milton Friedman. Fuck him with the biggest, thorniest stick on the planet. Fuck Ronald Reagan for legitimizing Friedman, fuck Mitt Romney for his [...]


    2. I grew up in Lancaster. When I was five I lived on Maud Avenue and could see the west side Anchor Hocking plant from my back yard. My grandma lived by Cherry Street Park and you could see the defunct east side plant from her front porch. But by the time I was in high school Anchor Hocking's heyday had passed. In 1997 Lancaster felt like a dying town, so I did what almost everyone I knew did - I left. But my family stayed and over the next ten years I'd visit once or twice a year when I had leave [...]


    3. In the year following the Trump election, there has been a renewed journalistic focus on the "white working class" and its miserable economic state. This has produced many superficial articles along the lines of "Trump supporter still supports Trump, still dislikes black people and Mexicans", and doesn't tell us very much about how things got where they are.This book is an investigation in greater depth, and has become a case study of the decline of manufacturing towns in the Midwest. Alexander' [...]


    4. "Corporate elites said they needed free-trade agreements, so they got them. Manufacturers said that they needed tax breaks and public-money incentives in order to keep their plants operating in the United States, so they got them. Banks and financiers needed looser regulations, so they got them. Employers said they needed weaker unions–or no unions at all–so they got them. Private equity firms said they needed carried interest and secrecy, so they got them. Everybody, including Lancastrians [...]


    5. Forget Hillbilly Elegy, if you want to understand why Donald Trump is President, why he won in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, read this book. This is a damning indictment on why America is coming unraveled, and why if we keep on our current trajectory without making some big changes, without a new social contract our nation is headed for chaos, for dissolution, for revolution. Thank you Mr. Alexander, for this book.


    6. The life and death and signs of life of Anchor Hocking Glass Company serves as a platform to tell the story of how greed brought on by Reaganomics and private equity raiders ("Barbarians") stole most of the capital from a company and a thriving Ohio town, capital that took decades to build, but only a few years to destroy. There's lots of heroin, too, of course. This is a more difficult read than "Hillbilly Elegy," but a far more honest and encompassing book. Put it together with "Dark Money" fo [...]


    7. GLASS HOUSE a story that shows the more base side of capitalism, where short-term profits are paramount, and people are just things in the way. The story is not a fun read--it's actually quite sad, and unfortunately, there isn't a cheery ending. Nevertheless, this tale is a story that needs telling, and a discussion worth having. The events documented in this book are sure to bring up lots of questions--especially regarding the ethics of corporate buyouts. Brian Alexander explains what happened [...]


    8. We've all heard the now-familiar story of how the American dream dies. Outsourcing and foreign competition shutter factories, and in the absence of jobs, working- and middle-class laborers turn to heroin and right-wing politics to numb their pain. The story of Lancaster, Ohio initially seems to follow this pattern, with the fates of the town and its citizens following the rise and fall of the local Anchor-Hocking plant. But the fall of Anchor-Hocking can't be blamed on foreign competition, jobs [...]


    9. I read this while on vacation in Florida, so maybe that was a n odd choice to read poolside, but this book pissed me off so much. There is sometime so fundamentally wrong with this country and I'm sure there isn't one specific moment in time that we can blame, but Reagan and Friedman and their terrible, greedy, despicable, and disgusting economic policies had a whole lot to do with the state of the country and how unbalanced and unfair it is. I believe that if you work hard you should have succe [...]


    10. This Book Was: Informative, Heart-Rending, A MUST-Read for 2017 in America. If you read Hillbilly Elegy and/or Strangers In Their Own Land, you NEED to read this. Content Rating: Rated-R for (quoted) Cursing, Drug Use, Racism, and Depression-Triggers for anyone with a sense of Empathy. Maturity Rating: High Maturity. While mostly a flowing read, you need to come into this with an open mind. Would I recommend it? -- YES. Everyone should read this, but especially those in America who could not und [...]


    11. If you've ever wondered where the current state of raging income inequality in America came from, this book is a good place to start. It tells the story of a tight-knit Ohio town profiled by Forbes magazine in 1947. Back then, while there may have been uneasy tension between the owners of the town's largest employer, the Anchor Hocking Glass Company, and its unionized workers, they all lived within a few miles of each other, their kids all went to the same schools, their wives worked on the same [...]


    12. I heard Brian Alexander interviewed on NPR and immediately reserved the book at the library. This read like a horror story of impending doom. Corporate takeovers occur for many reasons. Sometimes it's to consolidate industry rivals. Other times (most often nowadays) it's to make financiers even richer. Rarely is it to elevate the fortunes of the workers. Frequently it weakens once-proud brands, sometimes to the point of no return. That was the case for Anchor-Hocking Glass and its hometown of La [...]


    13. Did I understand all the finance in this book? Nope. But it's desperately important to demystify the methods by which late capitalism (not immigration) defangs unions and enables opioid addiction.


    14. A very powerful and thought provoking book. If this doesn't make you angry, not sure what will. Shows the myriad of actors involved in destroying an American town's economy and how the demands put on companies to appease shareholders in the short term rather than build for the long term contribute at least as much as globalization to these problems. The story is told in terms of how all levels of the community -- from the boardroom to skid row -- are affected as the social contract that we grew [...]


    15. A very fine introduction to the systemic decisions that can destroy lives, not to mention companies. I kept going from the book to the internet, looking up people and places mentioned in this book. My distrust of corporate raiders, private equity firms and neocapitalism has been reinforced. The means people use to abuse themselves and others continues to amaze. In ways the book is more depressing than hopeful. I read it as a compliment to "Hillbilly Elegy" and "Strangers in Their Own Land". I ex [...]


    16. Due to some very poor editing Glass Houses is two books in one. One is good and the other is great, but because they don't mesh together the overall product is merely good. The sections about the people of Lancaster, Ohio are generally good and at their best are reminiscent of David Simon's excellent book The Corner. However, too many people with not enough depth made the local aspect of the book a distraction from the better conceived macro viewpoint.The sections about private equity firms, the [...]


    17. It’s not unusual to read about history that you lived through. However, it is much more intimate to read about history at a specific company that you lived through.Familiar names of past co-workers and quick mentions of "offices being a windowless concrete cell of a room" and Burger on the Bricks bring back nostalgic memories. However, unfortunately in this book, that is for the most part, that is the extent of the happiness.This really isn’t a story about Anchor Hocking a housewares company [...]


    18. I really wanted to like this book, however with a two-star rating I was clearly disappointed. I was optimistic about it after hearing the author interviewed on Fresh Air. And with my interest in stories from the Rust Belt I thought this could be a mashup of "Dreamland" and "Hillbilly Elegy." It was not. Far too much time was spent on the corporate ownership of Anchor Hocking in a way that never really moved the story forward. The stories of the residents were interesting at times but never had t [...]


    19. This the story of a small Ohio town that for decades was the home of Anchor Glass. It tells of the beginnings of the company, how good this company was to it's employees then it moves onto it's downfall in the 80's. The deregulation and tax cuts for businesses back in the 80's destroyed so many towns because that help did "not" go to the every day people but the wealthy businessmen and made them wealthier. This book tells what happened to so many good businesses in America and why corporate gree [...]


    20. Fascinating, the author expanded my limited knowledge of private equity and how it squeezes our skilled laborers. Alexander explains the complex equity arrangements in understandable analogies, but some of it is opaque in a way that is clearly by design in that industry. Devastatingly sad how corporate greed wins over and over again. A great tribute to the tireless work of those investing in the community like Michele Ritchlin. Proud to know you Michele and good luck to you.


    21. This wast-that-great. I was really looking forward to it, andI feel like I don't understand anything more than I did before I read this book. I also think the 1% economy part is a little misleading; though maybe that's just my lack of understanding coming into play. Also, this was leaden, in terms of pace. I think it could have moved faster. Anyway, sad that this wasn't as good as I hoped.


    22. Lancaster, Ohio is one of the many communities that suffered immensely because of the excesses of pirate capitalism. Once a bastion of middle-class comfort it would be devastated by hostile corporate raiding and inept detached management. When the book treats the social history it makes for a compelling story, unfortunately it is awash in inscrutable corporate maneuvering and Wall St.-speak which makes the narrative drag.


    23. What a sad state of affairs many of America's cities have succumbed to. Lancaster Ohio is no exception. A once great city much like Detroit has fallen from its mighty throne. This book does a fabulous job of following local residents and in a heartfelt way it points out the sadly slowly demising American dream for the rest of us 99%ers. A must read!


    24. Best book I have read in years -- personal memoir combined with complex insights into how greedy arcane finance guts regular American towns and the lives of the people living there. A+ reporting and a gripping read.


    25. What a follow to "The Jungle." And it was purely accidental I tend to rotate science, economics, classics, mysteries so I don't get stuck on one thing this was non-fiction and it was the next on the shelf. And if you think "The Jungle" is depressing, this will make you want to just chuck it all in, if you're working or middle class and still chasing the American Dream. Because this book is about a town where the American Dream really IS dead, and it's just an example of post-industrial towns a [...]


    26. A fascinating book recording the demise of a town that had been the epitome of middle America in the 1950's. At one time called "the whitest town in America", and subject of a 1947 documentary in Forbes magazine, welcome to Lancaster, Ohio. The book is written by Brian Alexander, who hails from Lancaster. He has written an excellent book that details how the destruction of the local industry (mostly glass, hence the title) by Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity companies broke apart the town. B [...]


    27. This is a must-read, especially if you are interested in the state of our country and the anger of the working class. This is actually better than Hillbilly Elegy -- both books written by native Ohioans about their hometowns, although Hillbilly Elegy is more strictly memoir whereas this book is more of a journalistic piece. Although this is why I knock off a star -- the author writes about his hometown, but struggles to keep the reporting at a distance. But this isn't acknowledged, and often the [...]


    28. This is a fascinating story of the near-destruction of a once very profitable business, and the decline of the community that depended heavily on that business. More than that, it's the story of something that has happened and is still happening all over the US - the gutting of companies by private equity firms whose only goal is to make a quick buck, and damn the consequences for the workers and the towns where they work and live. Alexander takes an in-depth look at the fall of Anchor-Hocking; [...]


    29. This might be one of the best books I've read on the topic of the post-industrial USA and the poverty so many communities are dealing with after. Think "The Big Short" combined with "Strangers in our Own Land." The stark truth of our new economy (somebody's making money here, and it probably isn't you) was presented in an engagingly written way that leaves you by turns rooting for and frustrated with many of the people of Lancaster you're introduced to. I'd consider this essential reading. (And [...]


    30. Important account of the prolonged death of a manufacturing town. Outstanding reporting - Alexander manages to dig through the details of the series of acquisitions, lootings, and failures of Anchor Hocking Glassworks. As Wall Street sucked the life out the of the company, so went the town. An illustrative account of trends that decimated a wide swath of industrial America.


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