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Poverty


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis Lowest new price: $10.92
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Author: J. D. Vance

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NAMED BY THE TIMES AS ONE OF "6 BOOKS TO HELP UNDERSTAND TRUMP'S WIN" AND SOON TO BE A MAJOR-MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY RON HOWARD

"You will not read a more important book about America this year."—The Economist

"A riveting book."—The Wall Street Journal

"Essential reading."—David Brooks, New York Times

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.'s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Lowest new price: $10.65
Lowest used price: $7.44
List price: $17.00
Author: Matthew Desmond
Brand: BROADWAY

WINNER OF THE 2017 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION 

In Evicted, Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as “wrenching and revelatory” (The Nation), “vivid and unsettling” (New York Review of Books), Evicted transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of 21st-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR NONFICTION WINNER OF THE PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION | WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION | FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE | WINNER OF THE 2017 HILLMAN PRIZE FOR BOOK JOURNALISM | WINNER OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE HEARTLAND PRIZE

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by The New York Times Book Review • The Boston Globe •  The Washington Post  NPR • Entertainment Weekly • The New Yorker • Bloomberg •  Esquire • Buzzfeed • Fortune • San Francisco Chronicle • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel • St. Louis Post-Dispatch •  Politico •  The Week • Bookpage • Kirkus Reviews •  Amazon •  Barnes and Noble Review •  Apple •  Library Journal • Chicago Public Library • Publishers Weekly • Booklist • Shelf Awareness

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  • BROADWAY

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Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World

Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the  World Lowest new price: $10.85
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List price: $27.00
Author: Scott Harrison

New York Times bestseller

An inspiring personal story of redemption, second chances, and the transformative power within us all, from the founder and CEO of the nonprofit charity: water.

 
At 28 years old, Scott Harrison had it all. A top nightclub promoter in New York City, his life was an endless cycle of drugs, booze, models—repeat. But 10 years in, desperately unhappy and morally bankrupt, he asked himself, "What would the exact opposite of my life look like?" Walking away from everything, Harrison spent the next 16 months on a hospital ship in West Africa and discovered his true calling. In 2006, with no money and less than no experience, Harrison founded charity: water. Today, his organization has raised over $300 million to bring clean drinking water to more than 8.2 million people around the globe.

In Thirst, Harrison recounts the twists and turns that built charity: water into one of the most trusted and admired nonprofits in the world. Renowned for its 100% donation model, bold storytelling, imaginative branding, and radical commitment to transparency, charity: water has disrupted how social entrepreneurs work while inspiring millions of people to join its mission of bringing clean water to everyone on the planet within our lifetime.

In the tradition of such bestselling books as Shoe Dog and Mountains Beyond MountainsThirst is a riveting account of how to build a better charity, a better business, a better life—and a gritty tale that proves it’s never too late to make a change.

100% of the author’s net proceeds from Thirst will go to fund charity: water projects around the world.

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Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth Lowest new price: $13.00
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List price: $26.00
Author: Sarah Smarsh

*Finalist for the National Book Award and the Kirkus Prize*
*Instant New York Times Bestseller*

*Named a Best Book of 2018 by NPR, The New York Post, Buzzfeed (Nonfiction), Shelf Awareness (Nonfiction), Bustle, and Publishers Weekly (Nonfiction)*

An essential read for our times: an eye-opening memoir of working-class poverty in America that will deepen our understanding of the ways in which class shapes our country.

Sarah Smarsh was born a fifth generation Kansas wheat farmer on her paternal side, and the product of generations of teen mothers on her maternal side. Through her experiences growing up on a farm thirty miles west of Wichita, we are given a unique and essential look into the lives of poor and working class Americans living in the heartland.

During Sarah’s turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, she enjoyed the freedom of a country childhood, but observed the painful challenges of the poverty around her; untreated medical conditions for lack of insurance or consistent care, unsafe job conditions, abusive relationships, and limited resources and information that would provide for the upward mobility that is the American Dream. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves with clarity and precision but without judgement, Smarsh challenges us to look more closely at the class divide in our country.

A beautifully written memoir that combines personal narrative with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, Heartland examines the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less.

“A deeply humane memoir that crackles with clarifying insight, Heartland is one of a growing number of important works—including Matthew Desmond’s Evicted and Amy Goldstein’s Janesville—that together merit their own section in nonfiction aisles across the country: America’s postindustrial decline...Smarsh shows how the false promise of the ‘American dream’ was used to subjugate the poor. It’s a powerful mantra” (The New York Times Book Review).

An Amazon Best Book of September 2018: In this furious, regretful, and loving memoir, Sarah Smarsh examines the life of America’s rural poor through the microcosm of her extended family. Growing up working-class white on the Kansas plains, Smarsh enjoyed the freedom of a country childhood, but witnessed the hideous legacy of poverty in her relatives’ untreated illnesses, unsafe job conditions, abusive marriages, and addictions to everything from cigarettes to opioids.

Smarsh, now a writer and professor, created a stable professional life for herself using the same work ethic she saw in her parents, with talents they themselves might have developed had they been able to continue in school. What made the biggest difference: federal grants for first-generation students, and her determination to avoid early pregnancy. Her life’s work, she felt, “was to be heard,” rather than to become a mother, though the daughter she might have had feels so real that Heartland takes the form of an anguished letter to her.

For Smarsh, one of the cruelest blows the poor suffer is society’s assessment that they somehow deserve less than others. “People of all backgrounds experience a sense of poorness—not enough of this or that thing that money can’t buy. But financial poverty is the one shamed by society, culture, unchecked capitalism, public policy, our very way of speaking.” Heartland will make you check your privilege before you refer to anyone as “white trash” or “red neck,” and if you’re standing at a polling station, you might hear Smarsh’s voice in your ear. Her portrayal of what it feels like to be poor in America will persuade you that it’s not a fate any child should be born into. —Sarah Harrison Smith, Amazon Book Review

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Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive Lowest new price: $16.25
List price: $27.00
Author: Stephanie Land

Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.

At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly. She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.

Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

An Amazon Best Book of January 2019: Stephanie Land lifts the rug on the life of the working poor in her eye-opening book, Maid. She is writing about the people who clean our homes, who tend to our yards—yet so often these workers go unseen and their stories untold. As a single mother, Stephanie Land cares for herself and her young daughter through a complicated system of government assistance programs and through employment as a house cleaner. Her experience with government aid programs magnifies their worst inconsistency: how difficult is it for people to become self-sufficient when they are reliant on child care and food assistance credit in order to work and live, yet even the smallest increase in income can mean a significant loss of benefits. Land doesn’t have family or friends who could help her financially. They just don’t have it to give. She is truly on her own, yet using a food assistance card at the grocery store checkout has earned her scorn and judgement from strangers who think anyone using the system is abusing the system. Land is a fighter—her desire to create a better life for her daughter is what drives her to keep trying to dig her way out of poverty, working long hours for low pay, and grasping what kindnesses she receives like a life line. Maid is compelling because it’s so personal. Land isn’t whining or blaming, she’s letting us into her life, sharing feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, and desperation that come with trying so damn hard to do better and still living below the poverty line in spite of her efforts. Land has a hard life but she also has hope and resilience. She finds joy in small moments that are often overlooked in the distraction of material things. Maid is an important work of journalism that offers an insightful and unique perspective on a segment of the working poor from someone who has lived it. --Seira Wilson, Amazon Book Review

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Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America Lowest new price: $6.00
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Author: Barbara Ehrenreich
Brand: Picador USA

Our sharpest and most original social critic goes "undercover" as an unskilled worker to reveal the dark side of American prosperity.

Millions of Americans work full time, year round, for poverty-level wages. In 1998, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job -- any job -- can be the ticket to a better life. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 an hour? To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving from Florida to Maine to Minnesota, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling residential motels. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you int to live indoors.

Nickel and Dimed reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity -- a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival. Read it for the smoldering clarity of Ehrenreich's perspective and for a rare view of how "prosperity" looks from the bottom. You will never see anything -- from a motel bathroom to a restaurant meal -- in quite the same way again.

Features:

  • Best

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When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself

When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself Lowest new price: $9.65
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Author: Steve Corbett
Brand: Moody Publishing

With more than 300,000 copies in print, When Helping Hurts is a paradigm-forming contemporary classic on the subject of poverty alleviation.

Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good.

But it looks ahead. It encourages us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the materially poor, and to know that we are all uniquely needy—and that God in the gospel is reconciling all things to himself.

Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts provides proven strategies for effective poverty alleviation, catalyzing the idea that sustainable change comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out. 

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Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap (Multicultural Education Series)

Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap (Multicultural Education Series) Lowest new price: $28.45
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Author: Paul C. Gorski

This influential book describes the knowledge and skills teachers and school administrators need to recognize and combat bias and inequity that undermine educational engagement for students experiencing poverty.

The Second Edition features two new chapters―“Embracing a Structural View of Poverty and Education: Ditching Deficit Ideology and Quitting Grit” and “Cultivating School Change through Equity Literacy: Commitments and Strategies for School and District Leaders”―plus extensive revisions throughout based on newly available research and lessons from the author’s professional development work. Gorski outlines the dangers of “grit” and deficit perspectives as responses to educational disparities; offers research-informed, on-the-ground strategies for teaching and leading with equity literacy; and provides expanded lists of resources and readings to support transformative equity work in high-poverty and mixed-class schools.

Written in an engaging, conversational style that makes complex concepts accessible, this book will help readers learn how to recognize and respond to even the subtlest inequities in their classrooms, schools, and districts.

Book Features:

  • Offers a research-informed alternative to popular simplistic approaches that undermine genuine efforts at educational equity.
  • Outlines evidence-based strategies, policies, and practices that strengthen the educational success of students experiencing poverty.
  • Incorporates vignettes to help readers reflect on key points and apply the Equity Literacy framework to classroom- and school-based scenarios.
  • Embraces an intersectional approach to recognizing how class and poverty interact with race, gender, language, (dis)ability, and other dimensions of identity and experience.
  • Includes an updated Poverty and Class Awareness Quiz.

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Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty Lowest new price: $6.00
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List price: $17.99
Author: Abhijit Banerjee
Brand: PublicAffairs

Two practical visionaries upend the most common assumptions about how economics works in this gripping and disruptive portrait of how poor people actually live.

Why do the poor borrow to save? Why do they miss out on free life-saving immunizations, but pay for unnecessary drugs? In Poor Economics, Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, two award-winning MIT professors, answer these questions based on years of field research from around the world. Called "marvelous, rewarding" by the Wall Street Journal, the book offers a radical rethinking of the economics of poverty and an intimate view of life on 99 cents a day. Poor Economics shows that creating a world without poverty begins with understanding the daily decisions facing the poor.

Features:

  • PublicAffairs

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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Lowest new price: $5.68
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Author: Katherine Boo
Brand: Katherine Boo

In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.
 
Winner of the National Book Award | The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award | The Los Angeles Times Book Prize | The American Academy of Arts and Letters Award | The New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award
 
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times • The Washington Post • O: The Oprah Magazine • USA Today • New York • The Miami Herald • San Francisco Chronicle • Newsday
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New Yorker • People • Entertainment Weekly • The Wall Street Journal • The Boston Globe • The Economist • Financial Times • Newsweek/The Daily Beast • Foreign Policy • The Seattle Times • The Nation • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Denver Post • Minneapolis Star Tribune • Salon • The Plain Dealer • The Week • Kansas City Star • Slate • Time Out New York • Publishers Weekly
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“A book of extraordinary intelligence [and] humanity . . . beyond groundbreaking.”—Junot Díaz, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Reported like Watergate, written like Great Expectations, and handily the best international nonfiction in years.”New York

“This book is both a tour de force of social justice reportage and a literary masterpiece.”—Judges’ Citation for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award
 
“[A] landmark book.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“A triumph of a book.”—Amartya Sen
 
“There are books that change the way you feel and see; this is one of them.”—Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
 
“[A] stunning piece of narrative nonfiction . . . [Katherine] Boo’s prose is electric.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Inspiring, and irresistible . . . Boo’s extraordinary achievement is twofold. She shows us how people in the most desperate circumstances can find the resilience to hang on to their humanity. Just as important, she makes us care.”—People

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