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February Book Club! The Working Poor, David Shipler

For February Book Club, we will be reading "The Working Poor: Invisible in America" by David Shipler. As always, we will ground our discussion in a framework of meaningful deep and collaborative dialogue. See you there! The Working Poor

Invisible in America

By David K. Shipler

Buy online from an indie bookstore Link to this Book



“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.



About the Author

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.



Praise For The Working Poor

"This is clearly one of those seminal books that every American should read and read now." --The New York Times Book Review

" An essential book. . . . It should be required reading not just for every member of Congress, but for every eligible voter." --The Washington Post Book World

“Sensitive, sometimes heart-rending . . . . A vivid portrait of the struggle of the working poor to acquire steady, decently paid employment.” –Commentary

"Insightful and moving. . . . Shipler writes with enormous grace [and] he captures the immense frustration endured by the working poor as few others have." --The Nation

"Welcome and important. . . . Shipler manages to see all aspects of poverty--psychological, personal, societal--and examine how they're related. . . . There is much here to ponder for conservatives and liberals alike." —The Seattle Times

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  • Nicole

    Did everyone see obama's call to raise the minimum wage in the state of the union?

    1 · February 14, 2013

    • Cleese

      Pam, I agree that today, most Republican leaders are greedy and have trouble seeing beyond their own desire for more power. Republicans are representing a certain segment of the population, whether they are the top wealthest members of society or the corporate executives, so they are trying to present their views. I don't mind there being representatives for different income levels in this country; however, I am disappointed in the Repubilcan party failing to be intelligent about their words and decisions and should not be using hate as part of their message. If Republicans really think, they would understand that the Federal government plays a crucial role in providing an environment that benefits businesses and citizens alike (public safety, clean cities, a good road/freeway system, etc.). I'd like to recommend a tv series House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. It's a political drama/thriller and shows the darkest side of politics and even a bit Machiavellian.

      February 15, 2013

    • Robert

      Great points but the problem is you're asking republicans to really think. Rubio's rebuttal was pathetic, I had to awkwardly kneel down and take a big gulp of water half way though it :)

      1 · February 15, 2013

  • Meghan

    Hi Pamela, I'll add you! Just send me a message with your email address. If I have it from last night, then I should get you joined in the next couple days. :)

    1 · February 13, 2013

  • Pamela L.

    I thought I had joined the Google+ group but I'm not seeing it. I'm by no means a computer novice but I find this site, and G+, a bit difficult to navigate sometimes. Can someone let me know where the G+ group is? Thanks! :)

    February 13, 2013

  • Cleese

    The book is full of wonderful examples of the hardships of the poor working class. The author does an indepth analysis of the problems and issues that need to be addressed to help create a more fair and just system for all. The club explored wonderful topics related to the book and brought to the discussions excellent ideas and shared personal experiences.

    1 · February 13, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Whoever who had this book ahead of me at the library never returned it. So I wasn't able to read it. Next time!

    February 12, 2013

  • Michael W.

    I just joined this group recently. I have read the info for this event and would like to get an idea of the format. Is it a round table discussion? Do we try to analyze the book's theme? What else?
    Thank you!

    February 11, 2013

  • Josh W.

    the State of the Union is that night

    January 28, 2013

  • Pamela L.

    Wondering if this is the right place to post this? Sounds like something our group members would be interested in. :)

    January 17, 2013

    • Cleese

      Pamela, thank you for sharing about the KQED program, I look forward to hearing it on the radio. Along the lines of how technology may be used to improve citizen participation, there is a website dedicated to educating children and adults on how our political system works through online games: http://www.icivics.or...­ This is truly a great way to get citizens more invovled and more interested in the development of the nation.

      January 17, 2013

    • Pamela L.

      Thanks, Cleese. Sounds like a good idea. I think they also videotape most of these talks, for anyone interested.

      January 17, 2013

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