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Hard times and the long shadow of recession

By Jonathan Derbyshire  

To paraphrase Tolstoy, healthy economies are all alike; every unhealthy economy is unhealthy in its own way. That is one of the lessons I took from reading Hard Times: The Divisive Toll of the Economic Slump, a new book written by the Guardian journalist Tom Clark with the help of a team of researchers led by Anthony Heath, professor of sociology at the University of Manchester.

While the political-media complex obsesses about the precise speed of the incipient recovery and argues about whether people are still worse off than they were before the financial crisis erupted, Clark and his colleagues look elsewhere—at…

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