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$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America Hardcover – September 1, 2015
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—The New York Times Book Review
"With any luck (calling Bernie Sanders) this important book will spark election year debate over how America cares for its most vulnerable."
“Affluent Americans often cherish the belief that poverty in America is far more comfortable than poverty in the rest of the world. Edin and Shaefer's devastating account of life at $2 or less a day blows that myth out of the water. This is world class poverty at a level that should mobilize not only national alarm, but international attention.”
"In $2.00 A Day, Kathy Edin and Luke Shaefer reveal a shameful truth about our prosperous nation: many—far too many—get by on what many of us spend on coffee each day. It's a chilling book, and should be essential reading for all of us."
—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here
“Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer deliver an incisive pocket history of 1990s welfare reform—and then blow the lid off what has happened in the decades afterward. Edin’s and Shaefer’s portraits of people in Chicago, Mississippi, Tennessee, Baltimore, and more forced into underground, damaging survival strategies, here in first-world America, are truly chilling. This is income inequality in America at its most stark and most hidden.”
—Michael Eric Dyson, author of Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster
“Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer, with compelling statistics and wrenching human stories, illustrate how—with incomes far below the pay of low-wage jobs that cripples families by the millions—a shocking number of Americans live in an almost unimaginable depth of poverty, with near-zero incomes. We have let the bottom go out of the American economy. This powerful book should be required reading for everyone.”
—Peter Edelman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center and author, So Rich So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America
“This searing look at extreme poverty deftly mixes policy research and heartrending narratives... Mixing academic seriousness and deft journalistic storytelling, this work may well move readers to positive action.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An eye-opening account of the lives ensnared in the new poverty cycle.”
“A close-up, heartbreaking look at rising poverty and income inequality in the U.S.”
Top Customer Reviews
It also made me think to the time I spent living in the Bronx during grad school (yes!), making dismal adjunct wages relative to New York City living conditions. My neighbors would occasionally see me out reading on my stoop -- not making dinner --, and one family in particular paid special attention: even though the 3 of them (a mother, father, and teenage daughter) lived in a one-bedroom apartment, they often brought me a plate of whatever meal they had made. I knew that they did not have much, but of course to refuse the meal would be rude (and besides, the food was hearty and delicious). Since meeting them, I have had a soft spot for the supposed "lazy" people who get government subsidies. Some, like the family I knew, made do fairly well with what they had. Others, such as the people featured in this book, could only *wish* they had enough food to share.
In some senses, $2 A Day preaches to the choir; it's likely that those who are buying and reading the book 1) aren't in the position of its case studies, 2) already know there's a problem with how America's poor are "dealt with," and 3) are already fairly sympathetic to the issues that this volume addresses. But in many other ways, the book is, not to sound too cliché, a revelation. For one, the notion that "we, as a country, aren't spending less on poor families than we once did. ...Read more ›
Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer follow the further consequences of this shift in American life in $2.00 A DAY: LIVING ON ALMOST NOTHING IN AMERICA. Like NICKEL AND DIMED, $2.00 A DAY mixes personal profiles, social analysis, and political timelines to indicate how so many of our fellow citizens have become mired in such crippling poverty. The distance between political expediency and immediate need remains a strong focus throughout the work.
It's time to meet some of your neighbors you may not have seen yet. Recommended.
If you look at some of the other reviews, you'll notice others who question these characters Edin describes in her book. The first example I might make, is a young woman named Modonna. She had a job at a cash register for 7 years, but one day came up short $10 and is fired. No second chances.Read more ›
As a country we have a lot of major problems: a lack of living wage jobs, not enough affordable housing, diminished educational opportunities, crumbling infrastructure, reduced or non-existent public transportation, overwhelmed healthcare providers, etc.
What used to be the middle class is sliding into poverty and people are scrambling for the few programs of support available in limited supply.
But what seems to be the biggest and baddest situation is the way the old welfare system was killed off and replaced with just two things: a temporary supplement to someone with a job so they could establish a residence, and SNAP, a program to provide food. Nothing was put in place to handle utility bills, and examples showed how this one hole drastically affected people all over the country. How it set them scrambling to fill that hole by shorting other needs, having to do immoral or even illegal deeds just to get enough cash to keep lights on and toilets flushing. Or doing without and suffering all sorts of consequences to health and life.
That's what's so devastating about the "$2.00 a Day" poverty our nation has inflicted upon so many.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
$2.00 a day is an eye opening look at the lives of the extreme poor in america, and it does something that we really need to focus on: ridding this country of the destructive... Read morePublished 11 hours ago by KS
This book describes how the social welfare system in US has decayed over the years and how the poor are being driven to the limits on living on $2 a day. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Shah Alam
Excellent book. I wondered how the poor in America survive without welfare. This book shows you and points the way to changes that will support the poorest among us.Published 14 days ago by grandmaL
A helpful, hopeful, sad book. And these poor folks never give upPublished 18 days ago by Argyl bacon
I've read similar books to this in other sociology classes, but this is the first one that I feel really breaks down the history of assistance programs in a way that doesn't shy... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Sala
This is an excellent portrayal the of trials of the poorest in our country. It is a shame the way these people are expected to survive. I admired their resiliency. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Kathy Bower
A must-read for anyone interested in learning more about poverty in AmericaPublished 24 days ago by V-Anne
I TRULY ENJOYED READING THIS BOOK...SO REAL AND GRITTY. MAKES YOU SO APPRECIATIVE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE WHEN READING ABOUT THE LESS FORTUNATE. GOOD BOOK!!!!Published 25 days ago by MENA C