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Jessica Bruder Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Snowden's Box: Trust in the Age of Surveillance (With: Dale Maharidge) (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Jessica Bruder
Jessica Bruder, a journalist and New American fellow, writes about resilience, social issues, and different subcultures. She was born in Clifton, New Jersey. She graduated from Amherst College in the year 2000 with a BA in English and French and got her master’s in journalism from Columbia University in the year 2005.

She has gotten support for her work from fellowships at the Logan Nonfiction Program, Yaddo, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and MacDowell.

For her book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” she spent months living in her camper van, documenting itinerant Americans that gave up traditional housing, hit the road full time, and enabled them to travel from different jobs to make a place for themselves in America’s precarious economy. She says they prefer to call themselves “houseless”.

The project spanned the course of three years and over fifteen thousand miles of driving, from one coast to the other and from Mexico up to the Canadian border.

With the book, she saw the opportunity to do something different from typical “road books” that are told from a male perspective, and put women’s perspectives front and center. This is after she found, and was impressed by, the amount of older, single women that made it out on the road. Females have lower lifetime earnings than males and, as a result, get less in Social Security.

When she slept in the van while parked in a public place, what she dreaded the most was getting what the nomads refer to as “the knock”, which is when a police officer knocks on the window, and tells her to move along.

Jessica’s been teaching at Columbia Journalism School since 2008 teaching narrative storytelling. She has written for publications that include The Washington Post, Harper’s Magazine, The Associated Press, The Nation, WIRED, The New York Times Magazine, O: The Oprah Magazine, Inc., The Christian Science Monitor, The International Herald Tribune, Reuters, and

She’s also written for The Oregonian, where she worked as a staff writer and contributed to The New York Observer for over a decade. And Fortune Small Business magazine, where she worked as a senior editor.

Her photographs have appeared in “Nomadland” and “Burning Book” as well as publications such as Blender magazine, The New York Observer, and The New York Times.

Jessica’s also produced the film CamperForce, which Brett Story directed and was executive produced by Laura Poitras for Field of Vision.

Besides doing these jobs, she’s also been a snowboarder, a music store clerk, a Starbucks barista, an electric guitar nerd, a junior camp counselor, and an incredibly lousy waitress. Jessica is, eternally, a proud and patch-wearing member of the Madagascar Institute and the Flaming Lotus Girls.

She lives with her dog Max and more plants than you can shake a leafy stick at in Brooklyn.

Her long-form stories have won a Deadline Club Award and a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. “Nomadland” won a Barnes & Noble Discover Award in 2017, was a New York Times Notable Book. It was also a finalist for both the Helen Bernstein Book Award and the J. Anthony Lukas Prize.

Jessica’s first book, called “Burning Book”, was released in the year 2007.

“Nomadland” was adapted into a movie released in the year 2020 starring Frances McDormand, Linda May, David Strathairn, and Charlene Swankie and was directed by Chloe Zhao, who also produced, wrote, and edited the movie. It won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

“Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man” is a non-fiction book that was released in the year 2007. It all started in 1986 when a group of friends burned one eight foot tall effigy on Baker Beach in San Francisco in front of an impromptu audience of twenty. Twenty years later Burning Man evolved into a dazzling annual extravaganza that is dedicated to radical self-expression and self-reliance, attracting close to forty thousand people.

These revelers are an eclectic group of geeks, ravers, punks, families, gearheads, tourists, hippies, grad students each turn the ancient lakebed of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert into a bustling town that exists just for a glorious week before it vanishes in a cloud of dust and ashes.

At last there’s a book that is able to capture the craziness and magic of Burning Man in dazzling color pictures and well spoken words. The book is able to break free of its print shackles: being a ton of fun and makes for great daydreaming fodder. Jess has a way with words that is able to vividly capture the experience of what it is truly like to be out there on the player and it spotlights some of the projects and people unique to the culture.

“Nomadland” is a non-fiction book that was released in the year 2018. From the campgrounds of California to the beet fields in North Dakota to Amazon’s CamperForce program in Texas, employers have found a new, low-cost labor pool, which is made up of transient older adults. These invisible casualties of the Great Recession have taken to the roads by the tens of thousands in modified vans and RVs, making a growing nomad community.

This tells a revelatory story of the dark underbelly of the American economy. One of which foreshadows the precarious future that might await many more of us. At the exact same time, it celebrates the exceptional creativity and resilience of these Americans that have given up on ordinary rootedness to survive, but haven’t given up hope.

Readers found this to be a beautifully written and stunning read, both haunting and brilliant. It is an extraordinary book that maps the chasm between what America actually is and what it wants to be. Jessica is a compassionate and acute observer and with “Nomadland”, turns out a remarkable book of wholly immersive reporting. It is a calmly stated chronicle of devastation but it is told story after story, and is also a riveting collection of stories about some irresistible folks, valiant and quirky folks that deserve a decent life and respect.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jessica Bruder

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