Nobody who works hard should be poor in America, writes Pulitzer Prize-winner David Shipler. Clear-headed, rigorous, and compassionate, he journeys deeply into the lives of individual store clerks and factory workers, farm laborers and sweat-shop seamstresses, illegal immigrants in menial jobs, and Americans saddled with immense student loans and paltry wages. They are known as the working poor.
They perform labor essential to America's comfort. They are white and black, Latino and Asian - men and women in small towns and city slums trapped near the poverty line, where the margins are so tight that even minor setbacks can cause devastating chain reactions. Shipler shows how liberals and conservatives are both partly right - that practically every life story contains failure by both the society and the individual. Braced by hard fact and personal testimony, he unravels the forces that confine people in the quagmire of low wages. And unlike most works on poverty, this book also offers compelling portraits of employers struggling against razor-thin profits and competition from abroad.
With pointed recommendations for change that will challenge Republicans and Democrats alike, The Working Poor stands to make a difference.
“This is one of those seminal books that every American should read and read now.” (
The New York Times Book Review)
“ The Working Poor... should be required reading not just for every menber of Conbress, but for every eligible voter.” ( Washington Post Book World)
“The 'working poor' ought to be an oxymoron, because no one who works should be impoverished. In this thoughtful assessment of poverty in twenty-first century America, David Shipler shows why so many working Americans remain poor, and offers a powerful guide for how to resuscitate the American dream. A tour de force of a forgotten land.” (Robert B. Reich, University Professor, Brandeis University, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor)
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