The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business

Nelson Lichtenstein, Author . Metropolitan $25 (311p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7966-1

Lichtenstein (Walter Reuther ) offers a comprehensive if dry discussion of Wal-Mart—the world's largest private sector employer—and its place in the changing global economy. The author covers the company's rise from a group of tiny rural Arkansas stores to an enormous international entity, plagued by equally enormous problems: accusations of widespread sexual and racial discrimination, a history of dodging minimum wage law and unemployment claims, union-busting, destruction of smaller companies, chronic employee theft and bad publicity following the discovery of goods produced by child laborers. Though Lichtenstein speaks with bemused awe of Wal-Mart's omnipresence in commerce and culture, advanced logistics system and evangelical background, the message is that Wal-Mart—whose eerie motto “Our long-term strategy is to be where we're not”—has gotten too large and unwieldy to support its own weight. While it serves well as a primer on the company many Americans love to hate, the distant tone and ponderous detail will not help this book stand out from the rank and file of Wal-Mart exposés. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 04/27/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 424 pages - 978-0-312-42968-3
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-8971-8
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