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The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives

by Sasha Abramsky

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1301151,836 (3.75)8
"Fifty years after Michael Harrington published his groundbreaking book The Other America, in which he chronicled the lives of people excluded from the Age of Affluence, poverty in America is back with a vengeance. It is made up of both the long-term chronically poor and new working poor-the tens of millions of victims of a broken economy and an ever more dysfunctional political system. In many ways, for the majority of Americans, financial insecurity has become the new norm. The American Way of Poverty shines a light on this travesty. Sasha Abramsky brings the effects of economic inequality out of the shadows and, ultimately, suggests ways for moving toward a fairer and more equitable social contract. Exploring everything from housing policy to wage protections and affordable higher education, Abramsky lays out a panoramic blueprint for a reinvigorated political process that, in turn, will pave the way for a renewed War on Poverty. It is, Harrington believed, a moral outrage that in a country as wealthy as America, so many people could be so poor. Written in the way of the 2008 financial collapse, in an era of grotesque economic extremes, The American Way of Poverty brings that same powerful indignation to the topic"--… (more)



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In 1962, Michael Harrington published The Other America, a sociological study of poverty in the US. Over 50 years later, we haven't made much progress in addressing this issue. Newspapers are filled with statistics about the growing inequality in the United States, and these statistics are striking. But Sasha Abramsky shares the stories and the voices behind the statistics, taking us across the US to meet real people who help to counter the stereotypes.

The second half of the book follows up the stories with policy recommendations for addressing this challenge. Abramsky contends that we have the resources needed to address poverty and concludes the book by commenting, "If, in the year 2062, another journalist has to revisit this issue again, to comment on poverty's stubborn presence on the American landscape a century after Harrington's cri de Coeur, it will be because of a failure of wills far more than a failure of intelligence or a lack of resources."

I thought this book was very well written. Although the two halves are almost like separate books, both contain important information. The stories provide an important face to the problems associated with poverty in the US, and the policy recommendations fill the need for specific solutions to these problems. However, the solutions are not necessarily designed to be bi-partisan. Because of this, it is likely that reactions may vary based on your political leanings. ( )
  porch_reader | Jan 26, 2014 |
Sasha Abramsky mixes tons of data with the personal stories of America’s poor, revealing that the most surprising thing about poverty in the United States is its amazing diversity.
added by KelMunger | editLit/Rant, Kel Munger (Nov 13, 2013)
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