Reports on pension insecurity, union battles and financial instability are unsettling stuff. Which makes it all the more worthwhile that Michael McConnohie reads Lowenstein's front-line report on pension squabbles in American urban outposts. McConnohie, who sounds like NBC anchor Brian Williams with a bit more gravel in his throat, renders the story of aging workers and how to support them with stern authority. If at times McConnohie is so stentorian as to sound like he has been carved out of granite, he does a solid job of underscoring the seriousness of the problems that Lowenstein investigates. Listening to him is like taking in a particularly in-depth audio version of the nightly news. A Penguin hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 17).