The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Apr 24, 2012 - Political Science - 272 pages

For the past three decades, America has steadily become a nation of haves and have-nots. Our incomes are increasingly unequal. This steady growing apart is often mentioned as a troubling indicator by scholars and policy analysts, though seldom addressed by politicians. What economics Nobelist Paul Krugman terms "the Great Divergence" has till now been treated as little more than a talking point, a rhetorical club to be wielded in ideological battles. But this Great Divergence may be the most important change in this country during our lifetimes-a drastic, elemental change in the character of American society, and not at all for the better.

The inequality gap is much more than a left-right hot potato-its causes and consequences call for a patient, non-partisan exploration. Timothy Noah's The Great Divergence, based on his award-winning series of articles for Slate, surveys the roots of the wealth gap, drawing on the best thinking of contemporary economists and political scientists. Noah also explores potential solutions to the problem, and explores why the growing rich-poor divide has sparked remarkably little public anger, in contrast to social unrest that prevailed before the New Deal.

The Great Divergence is poised to be one of the most talked-about books of 2012, a jump-start to the national conversation about the shape of American society in the 21st century, and a work that will help frame the debate in a Presidential election year.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - barlow304 - LibraryThing

This book began life as a series of articles for Slate, the online magazine. The author carefully explains the “Great Convergence”, a period when income inequality was declining in the US, then goes ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Sullywriter - LibraryThing

I found this book most interesting for Noah's discussions of economic history to put contemporary issues in context. Most impressive is the argument he presents about the direct correlation between ... Read full review


Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Timothy Noah has written for Slate for the past dozen years, and was previously a Washington reporter for the Wall Street Journal, a staff writer at the New Republic, and an editor at the Washington Monthly. He edited two collections of the writings of his late wife, Marjorie Williams, including the NYT-bestseller The Woman at the Washington Zoo. Noah received the 2011 Hillman Prize, the highest award for public service magazine journalism, for his "Great Divergence" series in Slate.

Bibliographic information