New York Times reporter Louis Uchitelle is a mild and measured man, but he has hit his boiling point. "Everyone who talks to me about the book wants to make it about finding an enemy or blaming or politics ... they don't get it, and you don't either," he says in an interview. "This is not a book about unemployment. It's simply a book that sticks to what happens to people after they've been laid off." That is exactly what will make his new book, The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences (Knopf, March 28, $25.95, 304 pages), difficult for many to digest. He simply tells what happens to workers, blue- and white-collar alike, after they are laid off, and the stories taken together paint a picture of Americans unable to fully recover from the toll that two decades of downsizing have had on productivity and dignity. In doing so, he challenges conventional business reporting, political rhetoric and Wall Street wisdom that says layoffs are the best way to cut costs, that a constantly shifting workforce is the law of the land, and that caring about workers is antithetical to good business. Using anecdotal and statistical evidence, Uchitelle reminds readers that before the layoff became a popular and socially acceptable form of cost-cutting, it was a sign of corporate failure and a violation of acceptable business behavior. That's because corporate America decided that a dedicated highly skilled labor force was the most efficient and profitable way to manage capitalism's most unruly and unpredictable variable: the worker. Over the course of 90 years, companies began to trade job security, pensions and profit-sharing for dedication, skill and motivation. He also fairly lays out the economic forces, primarily globalization, that made the American version of job security an economic liability, allowing the system that took nearly a century to create to be undone in about two decades.