The Working Poor: Invisible in America
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As David K. Shipler makes clear in this study, the invisible poor are engaged in the activity most respected in American ideology - hard, honest work. But their version of the American Dream is a nightmare: low paying, dead-end jobs; the profound failure of government to improve upon decaying housing, health care, and education; the failure of families to break the patterns of child abuse and substance abuse. Shipler exposes the interlocking, problems by taking us into the sorrowful, infuriating, courageous lives of the poor - white and black, Asian and Latino, citizens and immigrants. We encounter them every day, for they do jobs essential to the American economy. We meet drifting farm workers in North Carolina, exploited garment workers in New Hampshire, illegal immigrants trapped in the steaming kitchens of Los Angeles restaurants, addicts who struggle into productive work from the cruel streets of the nation's capital - each life another aspect of a confounding, far-reaching urgent national crises. And unlike most works on poverty, this one delves into the calculations of some employers as well - their razor-thin profits, their anxieties about competition from abroad, their frustrations in finding qualified workers.