From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In an eloquent, no-holds-barred indictment of globalization, Jeter, former Washington Post
bureau chief for southern Africa, weaves the narratives of prostitutes in Buenos Aires and cab drivers in Brazil, tomato sellers in Zambia and an upwardly mobile black woman in Chicago into an analysis of how globalization and free trade have transformed many of the world's manufacturing hubs into global flea markets. There are true moments of heartbreak, particularly when Jeter shows how globalization has slowed progress in postapartheid South Africa and mingles with racism in Brazil, where employers and the state target poor black women for forced sterilization for the putative sake of a larger work force. The ghetto is in its ascendancy, he writes, challenging free trade orthodoxy and its ability to reduce poverty with examples of nations like Chile which have rethought their attitudes toward globalization and are moving toward new strength and independence. Jeter's stinging criticisms are a catalyst for a truthful and painful discussion about who a global economy helps and who it destroys. (May)
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This moving account of what poverty looks like in Mexico, Malawi, and Johannesburg (among other sites) by a former Washington Post bureau chief gently sings with the indignity of it all. By personalizing the struggle for survival around the globe (and based on seven years of interviews), whether it’s an Argentine prostitute or a Zambian tomato seller, Jeter dramatically paints the pictures of the “have nots,” pointing to political machinations, economic greed, failed governmental policies, and the deconstruction of the family framework as contributing causes to famine, disease, and crime. Readers will recognize many contemporary portraits, including that of Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush, now far from his roots as a Black Panther “power to the people,” and that of Chicago Afro-American Sonia, who cannot find a comparable mate. Yet he also profiles two countries—Chile and Venezuela—that have bucked the system and invested in manufacturing and exports, with no small reduction of the world’s chasm between wealthy and dirt-poor. An impassioned storyteller, Jeter wisely refrains from polemics and preachifying, gaining a powerful voice that, one hopes, will not be ignored. --Barbara Jacobs