From Cradle to Grave: The Human Face of Poverty in America
In this eloquent and revealing book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Freedman offers the first comprehensive view of poverty in a generation, showing us beyond the shadow of any possible doubt that the poor are no longer confined to some Other America or so-called "underclass". Drawing on the true stories of people at every stage of life - infancy, childhood, adolescence, the family, midlife, aging, and dying - he has written a singular book about hardship, about courage, and, in the face of incalculable odds, considerable hope. To do so, Freedman went to the people who have been shunned, visiting prenatal clinics, schools, job-training centers, and nursing homes, he asked, "What helps, what hurts, what works?" Their responses give poverty a recognizable human face, as he shows us children struggling to grow up, families fighting to keep their homes, displaced workers seeking training, retirees struggling to age and die with dignity. In his three years of investigating and recording, Freedman also discovered a surprising and, in many cases, heartening number of individuals and organizations already working to eliminate suffering. It is one of this book's achievements to show how innovative programs, funded on shoestring budgets, can help seemingly hopeless people cope with tribulation and transform their lives. Building on lessons from all parts of the country, Freedman suggests further coherent solutions that are affordable in this deficit-conscious era. A major work of reportage, From Cradle to Grave is also a timely, deeply informed call for change.
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