Someplace Like America: Tales from the New Great Depression

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In Someplace Like America, writer Dale Maharidge and photographer Michael S. Williamson take us to the working-class heart of America, bringing to life―through shoe leather reporting, memoir, vivid stories, stunning photographs, and thoughtful analysis―the deepening crises of poverty and homelessness. The story begins in 1980, when the authors joined forces to cover the America being ignored by the mainstream media―people living on the margins and losing their jobs as a result of deindustrialization. Since then, Maharidge and Williamson have traveled more than half a million miles to investigate the state of the working class (winning a Pulitzer Prize in the process). In Someplace Like America, they follow the lives of several families over the thirty-year span to present an intimate and devastating portrait of workers going jobless. This brilliant and essential study―begun in the trickle-down Reagan years and culminating with the recent banking catastrophe―puts a human face on today’s grim economic numbers. It also illuminates the courage and resolve with which the next generation faces the future.

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From the Inside Flap:

“Someplace Like America is unrelenting prose, not poetry, but what the book lacks in intimacy it makes up for in breadth and persistence. There's something doggedly heroic in this commitment to one of journalism's least glamorous, least remunerative subjects.”
–George Packer, The New Yorker

“These boys saw the floorboards giving out while the rest of America danced in the pig and whistle. Maharidge and Williamson have a document here that may be even more important in a generation than it is today.”―Charlie LeDuff, author of Work and Other Sins: Life in New York City and Thereabouts

“Through the voices and stories of working-class people, Maharidge and Williamson provide insight into the current situation, reminding us of the history of economic struggle and the importance of understanding our culture from the bottom up.” ―John Russo, co-author of Steeltown U.S.A.: Work and Memory in Youngstown

“This is a deeply felt and beautifully crafted book. Maharidge and Williamson are brave and clear-eyed in chronicling the struggle of America’s workers.” ―Todd DePastino, author of Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America

"In this moving and urgent book, Maharidge and Williamson continue to dig through the social wreckage of three decades of economic plunder, courageously documenting the uprooted and displaced, the uncertain and the fearful. Someplace Like America peers into the dark heart of a society that has turned its back on working people--and that may be on the cusp of abandoning its dignity as well. In the smoldering occupational ruins of what once was, Maharidge also manages to find hopeful embers of what might one day be. A disturbing retrospective on twenty-five years of reporting on the long-term dissolution of the American dream." ―Jefferson Cowie, Cornell University, author of Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class
 

About the Author:

Dale Maharidge is Associate Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He has published seven books, including And Their Children After Them, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass. Michael S. Williamson is a photographer at the Washington Post who has collaborated with Maharidge on many of his books.

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Publisher: University of California Press, 2011
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