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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2004 David K. Shipler (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By nancy on 10-05-12

A Must Read Book for the Middle-Class

Would you listen to The Working Poor again? Why?

Yes, because there are many statistics and stories in it that I'd like to reference to others.

What other book might you compare The Working Poor to and why?

Ruby Payne's The Culture of Understanding Poverty

What does Peter Ganim bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He did a fine job at voicing the various people highlighted in the book. Consequently, it was easy to keep them apart.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The part about the under-nourished children and day-care issues for working/welfare mothers was heart-rending. Shame on us for allowing this to happen in a country where we have so much.

Any additional comments?

The Working Poor very carefully explains the multitude of obstacles interfering with chronically poor American's inability to work their way into the middle class. Even though many of these deterrents are self-imposed, they are handicaps nevertheless. He also offers some sound solutions and inspirational programs that give a hand up and not just a hand out.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tyron on 10-22-16

Depth, Breadth and Authenticity

The author was able to capture the joys and pains of the individual experiences, while compressing an complex topic into palatable portions. Thanks for telling MY story and enlightening me to the plight of many others!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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