Consider "the old man in Tokyo who sat on the sidewalk reading a comic book and stinking of urine."
I think Vollman approaches his subjects with compassion, but the way that he writes about them, the questions he ask are tainted in a way he never quite acknowledges.
Vollmann's most frequent question is "Why are you poor?", and not surprisingly he gets a wide but not very informative array of answers.
For an author as prolific as Vollmann, this is a short book on a vast topic. Chapters heighten the focus of his travels and interviews--often as he credits to interpreters,... Read morePublished 7 months ago by John L Murphy
This work is timeless although it's really a snapshot in time of the author's. I could recommend it to 'straights' or other clueless middle class peeps like myself. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Tae K.
He asks the same question to a cross section of poor people, and through their answers gives us a clear idea of how hard life is for most of the world.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am almost finished reading this book. Personally, while I do understand some of the reviewers' criticisms of it, I am enjoying it. Read morePublished 22 months ago by J. Smith
This is the first work I've read by Vollmann, a well-received and prodigious writer for his age when this was published; so perhaps I'm judging him unfairly. Read morePublished 23 months ago by R. L. Huff
This book has sat on my shelf for years after I read a review of it somewhere. I bought it when I saw it on sale but never picked it up to read, thinking it would be dry,... Read morePublished on July 27, 2012 by Sarah K. Spillman
Molly Ivins once described her goal as "Afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted." William T. Read morePublished on December 18, 2010 by Cecil Bothwell
What was the point of this book? First of all the people who he calls poor in the West are different that those in the third world. Read morePublished on December 8, 2010 by C. Hurwitz
I am glad to have read Vollmann's book, although reading it saddened me. I have a slightly better sense for poverty, and that slightly better sense leaves me feeling slightly... Read morePublished on September 10, 2010 by Paul K.