Speed Reads

rest in peace

Author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich dead at 81

Best-selling author, activist, and journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, whose book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America has become hallowed text in the realm of social justice literature, died Thursday at the age of 81. The cause was a stroke, per her daughter, Rosa Brooks.

"She was, she made clear, ready to go," son Ben Ehrenreich tweeted Friday. "She was never much for thoughts and prayers, but you can honor her memory by loving one another, and by fighting like hell."

In researching Nickel and Dimed, which details the inequities and difficulties of surviving on minimum wage in America, Ehrenreich immersed herself in the world of waitressing and housekeeping, where she "quickly found that it took two jobs to make ends meet," The New York Times summarizes. "Every job takes skill and intelligence, she concluded, and should be paid accordingly."

Ehrenreich's writing dealt with a variety of complex issues, including women's rights, health care, and poverty. In addition to her over 20 books, she also penned articles and essays for The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, and The Atlantic, among other outlets.