We hear plenty about the widening income gap between the rich and the poor in America and about the expanding distance separating the haves and the have-nots. But when detailing the many things that the poor have not, we often overlook the most critical--their health. The poor die sooner. Blacks die sooner. And poor urban blacks die sooner than almost all other Americans. In nearly four decades as a doctor at hospitals serving some of the poorest communities in Chicago, David A. Ansell, MD, has witnessed firsthand the lives behind these devastating statistics. In The Death Gap, he gives a grim survey of these realities, drawn from observations and stories of his patients.While the contrasts and disparities among Chicago's communities are particularly stark, the death gap is truly a nationwide epidemic--as Ansell shows, there is a thirty-five-year difference in life expectancy between the healthiest and wealthiest and the poorest and sickest American neighborhoods. If you are poor, where you live in America can dictate when you die. It doesn't need to be this way; such divisions are not inevitable. Ansell calls out the social and cultural arguments that have been raised as ways of explaining or excusing these gaps, and he lays bare the structural violence--the racism, economic exploitation, and discrimination--that is really to blame. Inequality is a disease, Ansell argues, and we need to treat and eradicate it as we would any major illness. To do so, he outlines a vision that will provide the foundation for a healthier nation--for all. Inequality is all around us, and often the distance between high and low life expectancy can be a matter of just a few blocks. But geography need not be destiny, urges Ansell. In The Death Gap he shows us how we can face this national health crisis head-on and take action against the circumstances that rob people of their dignity and their lives.
Traditionally class has been the key concept for understanding society, enabling analysts to interpret social conflict and predict the course of social development. Critics argue that it is too crude and incapable of handling the nuances of the new identity politics. Jan Pakulski and Malcolm Waters take the radical position within the current debates that class is a purely historical phenomenon.
This stimulating book argues that concentration on class actually diverts attention from other more central and more morally problematic inequalities. The class perspective has become a political straitjacket which obstructs an accurate understanding of contemporary social, cultural and political processes.
Born to Slovenian peasants, Louis Adamic commanded crowds, met with FDR and Truman, and built a prolific career as an author and journalist. Behind the scenes, he played a leading role in a coalition of black intellectuals and writers, working class militants, ethnic activists, and others that worked for a multiethnic America and against fascism. John Enyeart restores Adamic's life to the narrative of American history. Dogged and energetic, Adamic championed causes that ranged from ethnic and racial equality to worker's rights to anticolonialism. Adamic defied the consensus that equated being American with Anglo-Protestant culture. Instead, he insisted newcomers and their ideas kept the American identity in a state of dynamism that pushed it from strength to strength. In time, Adamic's views put him at odds with an establishment dedicated to cold war aggression and white supremacy. He increasingly fought smear campaigns and the distortion of his views--both of which continued after his probable murder in 1951.
"A brilliant, multifaceted chronicle of economic and social change." --The New York TimesAt the outset of the 1870s, the British aristocracy could rightly consider themselves the most fortunate people on earth: they held the lion's share of land, wealth, and power in the world's greatest empire. By the end of the 1930s they had lost not only a generation of sons in the First World War, but also much of their prosperity, prestige, and political significance. Deftly orchestrating an enormous array of documents and letters, facts, and statistics, David Cannadine shows how this shift came about--and how it was reinforced in the aftermath of the Second World War. Astonishingly learned, lucidly written, and sparkling with wit, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy is a landmark study that dramatically changes our understanding of British social history.
- The mortgage and credit card rackets that saddle the working poor with debt
- The ubiquitous gun culture--and why the left doesn't get it
- Scots Irish culture and how it played out in the young life of Lynddie England
This book presents a social and cultural history of "dishonorable people" (unehrliche Leute), an outcast group in early modern Germany. Executioners, skinners, grave-diggers, shepherds, barber-surgeons, millers, linen-weavers, sow-gelders, latrine-cleaners, and bailiffs were among the "dishonorable" by virtue of their trades. It shows the extent to which dishonor determined the life chances and self-identity of these people. Taking Augsburg as a prime example, it investigates how honorable estates interacted with dishonorable people, and shows how the pollution anxieties of early modern Germans structured social and political relations within honorable society.
"This book is stolen. Written in part on stolen time, that is. Because like millions of others who work for a living, I was giving most of my prime time to my employer..." So begins Jeff Schmidt in this riveting book about the world of professional work. Schmidt demonstrates that the workplace is a battleground for the very identity of the individual, as is graduate school, where professionals are trained. He shows that professional work is inherently political, and that professionals are hired to maintain strict "ideological discipline." The hidden root of much career dissatisfaction, argues Schmidt, is the professional's lack of control over the political component of his or her creative work. Many professionals set out to make a contribution to society and add meaning to their lives. Yet our system of professional education and employment abusively inculcates an acceptance of politically subordinate roles in which professionals typically do not make a significant difference, undermining the creative potential of individuals, organizations, and even democracy. Schmidt details the battle one must fight to be an independent thinker, showing how an honest reassessment of what it means to be a professional in today's corporate society can be remarkably liberating. After reading this book, no one who works for a living will ever think the same way about his or her job.
Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles.
Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world's wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail. In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends--growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration--come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime--but it's impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side. In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice--the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights. Through astonishing--and enraging--accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide's punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all. Praise for The Divide
"Ambitious . . . deeply reported, highly compelling . . . impossible to put down."--The New York Times Book Review "These are the stories that will keep you up at night. . . . The Divide is not just a report from the new America; it is advocacy journalism at its finest."--Los Angeles Times "Taibbi is a relentless investigative reporter. He takes readers inside not only investment banks, hedge funds and the blood sport of short-sellers, but into the lives of the needy, minorities, street drifters and illegal immigrants. . . . The Divide is an important book. Its documentation is powerful and shocking."--The Washington Post "Captivating . . . The Divide enshrines its author's position as one of the most important voices in contemporary American journalism."--The Independent (UK) "Taibbi is] perhaps the greatest reporter on Wall Street's crimes in the modern era."--Salon