Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
10 books about poverty in America
Pick up one of these featured titles on poverty in America in May 2021.
Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending US Poverty by Joanne Samuel Goldblum
Category: United States
This book was published this year by BenBella Books and takes approximately 10.3 hours to read.
Joanne Goldblum, CEO and founder of the National Diaper Bank Network, and Colleen Shaddox, a journalist and activist, give a book shedding light on the realities faced by those living in poverty across the United States and provide a roadmap for eradicating poverty via policy changes.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
Category: Income Inequality
This book was published 4 years ago by Crown and takes approximately 14.9 hours to read.
Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem.
The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America by Alan Mallach
Category: Urban & Land Use Planning
This book was published 3 years ago by Island Press and takes approximately 11.5 hours to read.
In The Divided City, urban practitioner and scholar Alan Mallach presents a detailed picture of what has happened over the past 15 to 20 years in industrial cities like Pittsburgh and Baltimore, as they have undergone unprecedented, unexpected revival. He spotlights these changes while placing them in their larger economic, social and political context. Most importantly, he explores the pervasive significance of race in American cities, and looks closely at the successes and failures of city governments, nonprofit entities, and citizens as they have tried to address the challenges of change. The Divided City concludes with strategies to foster greater equality and opportunity, firmly grounding them in the cities' economic and political realities.
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin
This book was published 5 years ago by Mariner Books and takes approximately 8.0 hours to read.
Thestory ofa kind of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don't even think exists from a leading national poverty expert who defies convention ("New York Times") "
Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America by Mary Otto
Category: Health, Fitness & Dieting
This book was published 2 years ago by The New Press and takes approximately 10.1 hours to read.
An NPR Best Book of 2017 that exposes our oral health crisis and the astonishing role that teeth and oral health play in our society In this brilliant debut book, hailed by the New York Times Book Review as "a call for sweeping, radical change," veteran health journalist Mary Otto looks inside America's mouth, revealing unsettling truths about our unequal society. Teeth takes readers on a disturbing journey into the role teeth play in our health and our social mobility. Otto "doesn't just dwell on the numbers," according to NPR, "she makes what could have been a turgid health policy tome spark with outrage over the stories of people who have suffered." Her subjects include the pioneering dentist who made Shirley Temple and Judy Garland's teeth sparkle on the silver screen; an up-and-coming beauty queen awarded thousands of dollars of free cosmetic dental care; and Deamonte Driver, a young Baltimore boy whose death from an abscessed tooth sparked congressional hearings. Offering "an astute examination of the complex, insular business of oral health care" (Kirkus Reviews), Otto combines searing critique with forward-looking proposals for reform, "sympathetically explor[ing] a range of ideas for improving the current system" (New Republic). Muckraking and paradigm-shifting, Teeth exposes for the first time the extent and meaning of our oral health crisis.
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
Category: United States
This book was published 4 years ago by Penguin Books and takes approximately 16.5 hours to read.
"A history of the class system in America from the colonial era to the present illuminates the crucial legacy of the underprivileged white demographic, citing the pivotal contributions of lower-class white workers in wartime, social policy, and the rise of the Republican Party,"--NoveList.
The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town by Brian Alexander
This book was published this year by St. Martin's Press and takes approximately 10.7 hours to read.
An intimate, heart wrenching portrait of one small hospital that reveals the magnitude of America’s health care crises. By following the struggle for survival of one small-town hospital, and the patients who walk, or are carried, through its doors, The Hospital takes readers into the world of the American medical industry in a way no book has done before. Americans are dying sooner, and living in poorer health. Alexander argues that no plan will solve America’s health crisis until the deeper causes of that crisis are addressed. Bryan, Ohio's hospital, is losing money, making it vulnerable to big health systems seeking domination and Phil Ennen, CEO, has been fighting to preserve its independence. Meanwhile, Bryan, a town of 8,500 people in Ohio’s northwest corner, is still trying to recover from the Great Recession. As local leaders struggle to address the town’s problems, and the hospital fights for its life amid a rapidly consolidating medical and hospital industry, a 39-year-old diabetic literally fights for his limbs, and a 55-year-old contractor lies dying in the emergency room. With these and other stories, Alexander strips away the wonkiness of policy to reveal Americans’ struggle for health against a powerful system that’s stacked against them, but yet so fragile it blows apart when the pandemic hits.
Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh
This book was published 2 years ago by Scribner and takes approximately 10.7 hours to read.
*Finalist for the National Book Award* *Finalist for the Kirkus Prize* *Instant New York Times Bestseller* *Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, New York Post, BuzzFeed, Shelf Awareness, Bustle, and Publishers Weekly* 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 and “a deeply humane memoir that crackles with clarifying insight”.* 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. Beautifully written, in a distinctive voice, Heartland combines personal narrative with powerful analysis and cultural commentary, challenging the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. “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).
We estimate total reading time by multiplying a book's page count by an average reading speed of 2 minutes per page. Summaries sourced from Google Books.
Ask an Expert