The Great Divergence: Book summary and reviews of The Great Divergence by Timothy Noah

The Great Divergence

America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It

By Timothy Noah

The Great Divergence
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2012,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

For the past three decades, America has steadily become a nation of haves and have-nots. Our incomes are increasingly drastically unequal: the top 1% of Americans collect almost 20% of the nation's income - more than double their share in 1973. We have less equality of income than Venezuela, Kenya, or Yemen.

What economics Nobelist Paul Krugman terms "the Great Divergence" has until now been treated as little more than a talking point, a club to be wielded in ideological battles. But it may be the most important change in this country during our lifetimes - a sharp, fundamental shift in the character of American society, and not at all for the better.

The income gap has been blamed on everything from computers to immigration, but its causes and consequences call for a patient, non-partisan exploration. In The Great Divergence, Timothy Noah delivers this urgently needed inquiry, ignoring political rhetoric and drawing on the best work of contemporary researchers to peer beyond conventional wisdom. Noah explains not only how the Great Divergence has come about, but why it threatens American democracy - and most important, how we can begin to reverse it.

The Great Divergence is poised to be one of the most talked-about books of 2012, a jump-start to the national conversation about what kind of society we aspire to be in the 21st century: a land of equality, or a city on a hill - with a slum at the bottom.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Noah makes a convincing and passionate case for why rising inequality harms a working democracy, and suggests sensible, though not always politically viable, solutions." - Publishers Weekly

"Essential background reading for the coming elections." - Kirkus Reviews

"So you're busy and stressed and have time to read just one book on America's faultline crisis of widening inequality. This is the one. Tim Noah, a pro's pro among the nation's press corps, reveals why America has increasingly become a land of haves and have-nots - and how to reverse that soul-crushing trend - with insight, verve, thoroughness and surprising passion. A must read." - Ron Suskind, author of Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President

"This book is profoundly fascinating and important. The growth of income equality over the past three decades has caused a contentious partisan debate based more on ideology than fact. Timothy Noah provides a clear, dispassionate look at what has (and has not) caused this trend and what we can do about it. Everyone who cares about the future of America's middle class should read it." - Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin and President of the Aspen Institute.

The information about The Great Divergence shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Timothy Noah was recently named "TRB," the lead columnist at The New Republic. He wrote for Slate for a dozen years, and previously served at the Wall Street Journal, the New Republic, and the Washington Monthly. He edited two collections of the writings of his late wife, Marjorie Williams, including the New York Times bestseller The Woman at the Washington Zoo. Noah received the 2011 Hillman Prize, the highest award for public service magazine journalism, for the series in Slate that forms the basis of The Great Divergence.

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