From the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Arab and Jew, an intimate portrait unfolds of working American families struggling against insurmountable odds to escape poverty.As David K. Shipler makes clear in this powerful, humane study, the invisible poor are engaged in the activity most respected in American ideology—hard, honest work. But their version of the American Dream is a nightmare: low-paying, dead-end jobs; the profound failure of government to improve upon decaying housing, health care, and education; the failure of families to break the patterns of child abuse and substance abuse. Shipler exposes the interlocking problems by taking us into the sorrowful, infuriating, courageous lives of the poor—white and black, Asian and Latino, citizens and immigrants. We encounter them every day, for they do jobs essential to the American economy. This impassioned book not only dissects the problems, but makes pointed, informed recommendations for change. It is a book that stands to make a difference.