• Glass House

  • The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town
  • By: Brian Alexander
  • Narrated by: Bob Souer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

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Glass House

By: Brian Alexander
Narrated by: Bob Souer
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Publisher's Summary

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, an African-American leading the nearly all-white town's biggest private employer, 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.

©2017 Brian Alexander (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Glass House

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What really happened to the American Dream?

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. There are a lot of books out there that seek to explain what hat happened to the white working class in the last half century. Many focus on free trade and globalization. Some blame white working class culture. This book focuses squarely on the primary culprit: the corporate raider culture unleashed during the Reagan Revolution. Many other prosperous nations weathered the transition to globalism without thoroughly eviscerating their working class. Alexander's book reveals that we did this to ourselves, and we continue to permit and even celebrate a particularly predatory version of capitalism that is sucking the blood out of the nation.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Alexander effectively explains how predatory raider culture works, in all its complexities. But he humanizes the story by introducing us to its real victims.

Would you be willing to try another one of Bob Souer’s performances?

Probably not. The narration was wooden, and was often jarringly disconnected from the journalistic style of Alexander's writings. The narrator's voice seemed especially at odds with those parts of the book when Alexander was depicting his working class subjects, and when we were hearing their words and viewpoints. The book deserved a livelier, earthier narration.

If you could give Glass House a new subtitle, what would it be?

How Corporate Raiders Killed the American Dream.

Any additional comments?

I wish this book received at least as much attention as Hillbilly Elegy has received. I think it is a truer portrayal of what has happened to the white working class.

8 people found this helpful

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Do Your Homework!

I am appalled! I grew up in (LANK-uster). I know the (HAY-jost (rhymes with ghost) family and the STEEBL-ton family. John GOOSH-man was a respected leader. There is no Bis Road or prison. There does exist a B.I.S. (bee-eye-ess) Road - I’ve never heard of the facility referred to as the B.I.S. prison since the reformatory school closed and the transformation to a minimum security prison was completed. The author, Brian Alexander, worked for me for a short time while a broken bone was healing. How is it that the readers do not check pronunciations prior to recording? This is one book that I should have read. Listening to the mis-pronunciations was unbearable. I will likely never listen to another reading by Bob Souer. He has a good voice, but he has lost credibility as a reader. Painful. Brian’s work was spot-on and my walk around town yesterday as I listened to the final chapters was surreal.

2 people found this helpful

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Learn how to pronounce Lancaster

If you're going to narrate a book learn how to pronounce the name of the town it's about. The locals say Lan cuh stir not Lan CAS ter. Ask the author. He's from there.

2 people found this helpful

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a sensitive story of the death of an American town

a thorough and well researched story of the slow death of an iconic American workplace and the town it supported

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Slow, disjointed storyline. Narrator was boring.

First of all, the narrator was a total bore and didn't add any personality to the words he read, and to top it all off: pronounced the name of the town incorrectly. Come on! Do a little research!
The first chapter follows a couple of drug addicts and then it jumps to some other period of time that is very unclear and moves to a story line with different people altogether. I admit, I don't know how it turns out because I simply cannot listen to this terrible narrator for one more boring moment. I only made it to chapter 4.
So sorry. But it was pretty bad.

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A must read book for businesss managers

How we turned or back on what made America the envy of the world to glorify greed. A true story to be applied in towns throughout America.

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the reader pronounced Lancaster wrong

having grown up in Lancaster in the 1970s and 80s that's very sad that this has happened to my hometown another towns like it

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Awesome book.

I learned so much about the town I lived in for 49 years. The story was very interesting and I couldn't wait to hear more.

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Fascinating...for locals of Lancaster Ohio

This audiobook is probably fascinating for locals of Lancaster Ohio. All others are likely to be a bit bored. The history of the Anchor Glass company goes on too long. The individuals aren’t really fleshed out so you have a hard time distinguishing between people. You’re hours in before you get to the story of the current situation without feeling in any way entertained.

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Must read!!

Must read!! Tells a truth that is rarely spoken. Well spoken here!
Read about how the mighty fall and how only those who feel the pain feel it.
See the illustration of how those who have fallen never really figure out how they need up on the ground.