because i was bad in my last life.
because allah has willed it.
because the rich do nothing for the poor.
because the poor do nothing for themselves.
because it is my destiny.
These are just some of the answers to the simple yet groundbreaking question William T. Vollmann asks in cities and villages around the globe: "Why are you poor?" In the tradition of James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Vollmann's Poor People struggles to confront poverty in all its hopelessness and brutality, its pride and abject fear, its fierce misery and its quiet resignation. Poor People allows the poor to speak for themselves, explaining the causes and consequences of their impoverishment in their own cultural, social, and religious terms.
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"Snapshots of people no one wants to think about, written with great candor by someone unafraid to reveal his own fears and prejudices." - Kirkus.
"The book's greatest accomplishment is thatunlike other works of this sortit's neither guilt producing nor guilt absolving. At the end, there's no implied sigh or self-congratulation, for writer or reader." - PW.
"Starred Review. But for all the sorrow Vollmann catalogs, his persistent and compassionate pursuit of the truth reminds us of all that we share as human beings and all that we can do for each other." - Booklist.
"This remarkable book is sui generis and should be in all collections." - Library Journal.
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Vollman is also the author of In Rising Up and Rising Down (2003), and Europe Central
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