In honor of the 53rd anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s March, here are 15 books that detail America’s persistent income inequality and the true price of the vast gap between the rich and poor.
Ever wonder what made “good” neighborhoods good and “bad” neighborhoods bad? The Color of Law outlines the various policies that shoved Black Americans out of prosperous new suburbs into tight, underfunded burrows.
Written by astounding undercover journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed documents her time bouncing from low-paying job to low-paying job as she investigates what it takes to really make it in America as an everyday citizen. Spoiler alert: it’s incredibly difficult.
The financial crisis of 2008 rocked many more people than those on Wall Street. Evicted follows eight Wisconsin families as they struggle to pay rent in the midst of a recession. With rent moratoriums coming up all over the country, this novel remains key to understanding the pressures crushing many renters as we speak.
On the more academic side, Getting Rich answers the elusive question of how wealth gravitates to some and harshly escapes others. If you ever wanted a look at the inner workings of “wealth mobility,” look no further than this demystifying novel.
Helen Peppe shares intimate details of her life in “rock-bottom poverty” on a Maine farm. While the situation remains notably dire throughout, moments of humor and comfort happen when you least expect, making you want to return to the heart wrenching pages for more of this wild, overwhelmed, and tender family narrative.
Food insecurity plagues this nation; yet, we hear very little about it in our daily lives, especially if you’re lucky enough to never have experienced it. Joel Berg, an activist and creator of the documentary Supersize Me, uncovers how “hunger is a problem as American as apple pie.”
A longtime staple in the realm of income inequality literature, The Economics of Inequality provides a “succinct, accessible, and authoritative” view of a problem that’s weighed down economists for years. It’s a perfect way to dip your toe into the world of seemingly unreachable gaps between the rich and poor.
Tales of Two Americas assembles the poetry, essays, and fiction of 36 different writers to form a well-rounded look at what inequality means in the United States. The various viewpoints and settings make for a fascinating view of poverty some can’t begin to imagine.
A play on the famous book How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York, this novel tells the stories of generationally poor and newly poor Americans. The author brings what he calls the “moral outrage” of poverty in the United States to light, and the systems that perpetuate it.
Is America really the land of opportunity? The Price of Inequality says no and that it hasn’t been for a while. This novel expertly examines how vast wealth differences have hindered capitalism and divided society more than ever before, while assuring us that inequality doesn’t have to be inevitable.
Income inequality affects more than just the way we live: self-image, mood, and many other personal aspects of our lives are infected by this economic virus. The Broken Ladder takes a deeper look at the parts of our lives we thought untouchable by financial differences in a frightening and engaging way.
Based on a staggering 15 years of research, Why Nations Fail takes a fresh look at why some nations prosper while others suffer. Rather than blaming an uncontrollable force or an unchangeable fact, it focuses on the very institutions that they are built off of. For a bigger picture of wealth and poverty, crack open this historical masterpiece.
This heartbreaking memoir, turned into a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, follows a low-income family headed by brilliant, alcoholic parents as they bounce around in search of permanence. Filled with stories of joyful youth and crushing disappointment, The Glass Castle is a must read for lovers of adventure.
Seasoned Los Angeles Times reporter Miles Corwin documents the learning experiences of 12 South-Central high school seniors marked as gifted by their test scores. And Still We Rise is a true story of American triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
The American Dream is quickly transforming into the American Nightmare. Third World America showcases how the middle-class became an endangered species, and what that means for our education system, industry, and what makes America, well… America.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDITS: amazon, ifl science