The Working Poor by David K. Shipler
Invisible in America

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“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 challenge Republicans and Democrats alike, The Working Poor stands to make a difference.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About David K. Shipler

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David K. Shipler worked for the New York Times from 1966 to 1988, reporting from New York, Saigon, Moscow, and Jerusalem before serving as chief diplomatic correspondent in Washington, D.C. He has also written for The New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of three other books-Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams; the Pulitzer Prize-winning Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land; and A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America. Mr. Shipler, who has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has taught at Princeton University, at American University in Washington, D.C., and at Dartmouth College. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Published November 12, 2008 by Vintage. 354 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Working Poor

Kirkus Reviews

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25 years later, now a Wal-Mart clerk, she was up to $6.80.) Traveling from big box stores to Los Angeles sweatshops to farms to public-housing projects, Shipler offers memorable portraits of the women and men who figure as afterthoughts in just about every politician’s vision of the American futu...

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Publishers Weekly

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Armed with an encyclopedic collection of artfully deployed statistics and individual stories, Shipler, former New York Times reporter and Pulitzer winner for Arab and Jew , identifies and describes the interconnecting obstacles that keep poor workers and those trying to enter the work force afte...

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The American Myth tells us that anyone who works hard and lives sensibly can achieve financial well being in the United States.

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Deseret News

The scope and importance of David Shipler's "The Working Poor" brings to mind Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," an early 20th century muckraking classic about the exploitation of workers in the Chicago meatpacking business.

Mar 07 2004 | Read Full Review of The Working Poor: Invisible i...

Bookmarks Magazine

To research the state, and fate, of America's "working poor," Shipler visited low-wage workers in Los Angeles sweatshops, New Hampshire towns, and North Carolina migrant camps.

Oct 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The Working Poor: Invisible i...

Austin Chronicle

(At one point, the state, after forcing the woman to get a job in order to comply with the Worker Responsibility Act of 1998, threatens to take the girl away for neglect: The only job the woman can find that will feed the two is working the night shift at a factory job, but that leaves her 14-yea...

Jan 16 2004 | Read Full Review of The Working Poor: Invisible i...

Spirituality & Practice

Here are farm workers in North Carolina, garment workers in New Hampshire, and immigrants in Los Angeles restaurants.

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