cover image Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America

Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America

Alec MacGillis. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-374-15927-6

ProPublica journalist MacGillis (The Cynic) delivers a probing, character-driven report on Amazon’s impact on the American economy and labor practices. His profile subjects include a worker at an Amazon warehouse in Thornton, Colo., who has moved into his basement out of fear he will contract Covid-19 and transmit it to his high-risk mother-in-law, and a family in Dayton, Ohio, living in a homeless shelter after the father lost his $12 per hour job at a company that sells 140,000 tons of cardboard annually to Amazon. Meanwhile, MacGillis points out, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s fortune increased by tens of billions due to the pandemic, and the company got millions of dollars in tax credits to open a fulfillment center near Dayton. MacGillis also accuses the Washington Post, which Bezos owns, of subjecting Amazon’s plans to open headquarters in New York City and the Washington metro area to “less scrutiny” than the New York Times did. (The company abandoned its New York plans.) MacGillis gathers copious evidence that Amazon and other tech companies have disadvantaged American workers, yet he resists sermonizing in order to let readers draw their own conclusions. This cogent and wide-ranging study sounds the alarm bells. (Mar.)