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Publisher's Summary

An award-winning journalist investigates Amazon’s impact on the wealth and poverty of towns and cities across the United States.

In 1937, the famed writer and activist Upton Sinclair published a novel bearing the subtitle A Story of Ford-America. He blasted the callousness of a company worth “a billion dollars” that underpaid its workers while forcing them to engage in repetitive and sometimes dangerous assembly line labor. Eighty-three years later, the market capitalization of Amazon.com has exceeded one trillion dollars, while the value of the Ford Motor Company hovers around 30 billion. We have, it seems, entered the age of one-click America - and as the coronavirus makes Americans more dependent on online shopping, its sway will only intensify.

Alec MacGillis’ Fulfillment is not another inside account or exposé of our most conspicuously dominant company. Rather, it is a literary investigation of the America that falls within that company’s growing shadow. As MacGillis shows, Amazon’s sprawling network of delivery hubs, data centers, and corporate campuses epitomizes a land where winner and loser cities and regions are drifting steadily apart, the civic fabric is unraveling, and work has become increasingly rudimentary and isolated.

Ranging across the country, MacGillis tells the stories of those who’ve thrived and struggled to thrive in this rapidly changing environment. In Seattle, high-paid workers in new office towers displace a historic Black neighborhood. In suburban Virginia, homeowners try to protect their neighborhood from the environmental impact of a new data center. Meanwhile, in El Paso, small office supply firms seek to weather Amazon’s takeover of government procurement, and in Baltimore a warehouse supplants a fabled steel plant. Fulfillment also shows how Amazon has become a force in Washington, DC, ushering listeners through a revolving door for lobbyists and government contractors and into CEO Jeff Bezos’s lavish Kalorama mansion.

With empathy and breadth, MacGillis demonstrates the hidden human costs of the other inequality- not the growing gap between rich and poor, but the gap between the country’s winning and losing regions. The result is an intimate account of contemporary capitalism: its drive to innovate; its dark, pitiless magic; its remaking of America with every click.

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux

©2021 Alec MacGillis and Stefan Alexander MacGillis (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Fulfillment

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  • Victoria Cohen
  • 20-03-2021

Where is this author going?

I had to check the description of the book because I had no idea where this book was/is going.

It felt like the author was writing in circles; made me dizzy.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Aaron
  • 25-05-2021

misleading

could fit the info on Amazon in one chapter, the rest of the book was about random people.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jakob Olrik
  • 22-05-2021

I'm surprised

How is it possible to let down your own country and exploit it so badly?
This book is an eye opener on how the Amazon model is the absolute enemy of any society.
The American dream is dead and the society is sliding in the ground... and everybody loves it... I don't get it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-05-2021

A cautionary tale for American.

Fulfillment is a dual edged blade. The stories of our economic imbalances are really driven home.

How we deal with it is an ongoing narrative

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  • Cheryl Stovner
  • 10-04-2021

Fulfilled

I liked how the book explained how the last twenty or more years has changed how people shop, work and survive with facts and documentation before and after the internet.

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  • ameenah
  • 02-04-2021

Excellent information. Fast reading. Too fast?

Great information but the reader reads so fast and with so little inflection that honestly he makes the subject difficult to understand. Or to care about. I know it’s important but he reads it like let’s get through this and not like let’s try to glean some knowledge from it. New reader? Or just add a pause here or there JB your speech pattern. Maybe a rising and falling of vocal pitch. Something.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-07-2021

Strong first half, second half a rant on amazon.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the evolution of certain cities and the history of Bethlehem Steel. The personal stories are good. But the latter half of the book is just a rant on Amazon ( I’m no fan) and it detracts from what could have been a much stronger story.

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  • ronald
  • 28-06-2021

great book

This is a great book he gives you an insight of Amazon And it shows where this country's heading next

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  • Pablo Lema
  • 11-06-2021

Hopelessly Biased

Chapter 2: This guy who beats his wife, is addicted to pain pills, steals shit, and can't hold a job because of his issues deserves a better life. Amazon is EVIL for not GIFTING it to him.

Sighhhhh.

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  • Jan
  • 11-05-2021

Too much rambling around

The thread of the book is lost in all the twists and turns of the stories of different people. There doesn't seem to be a cohesive thread verbalize to connect the dots. Though to get through...even on audible.

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