by Bill Keller
published by Times Books.
© 2003 by Bill Keller
Click on image to purchase.
From Publishers Weekly
The topography of class in America has shifted over the past twenty
years, blurring the lines between upper, middle and lower classes; some
have argued that the concept of class is irrelevant in today's society.
While the 14 pieces in this volume (all originally printed as part of
a New York Times series) shed light on a different aspect of class,
they all agree that it remains an important facet of contemporary American
culture and draw their strength by examining class less through argument
than through storytelling. The reader, by following three heart attack
victims through very different recoveries, by witnessing the divergent
immigrant experiences of a Greek diner owner and his Mexican line cook,
by tracing the life path of an Appalachian foster child turned lawyer
and a single welfare mother turned registered nurse, or by seeing the
world from the perspective of the wife of a "relo" (a six-figure
executive who relocates every few years to climb the corporate ladder),
quickly realizes class is defined by much more than income. The collection
has the power of a great documentary film: it captures the lives and
ideas of its subjects in lively, articulate prose that, while grounded
in statistics and research, remains engaging and readable throughout.
The result is neither an attack on the rich nor a lecture to the poor,
but a thoughtful consideration of class dynamics. Its empathetic take
on this divisive subject and straightforward prose style will make the
book of interest to a wide range of readers.
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