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Publisher's Summary

Water. Food. Housing. The most basic and crucial needs for survival, yet 40 percent of people in the United States don't have the resources to get them. With key policy changes, we could eradicate poverty in this country within our lifetime - but we need to get started now.

Nearly 40 million people in the United States live below the poverty line - about $26,200 for a family of four. Low-income families and individuals are everywhere, from cities to rural communities. While poverty is commonly seen as a personal failure, or a deficiency of character or knowledge, it's actually the result of bad policy. 

Public policy has purposefully erected barriers that deny access to basic needs, creating a society where people can easily become trapped - not because we lack the resources to lift them out, but because we are actively choosing not to. Poverty is close to inevitable for low-wage workers and their children, and a large percentage of these people, despite qualifying for it, do not receive government aid. 

From Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox, Broke in America offers an eye-opening and galvanizing look at life in poverty in this country: how circumstances and public policy conspire to keep people poor, and the concrete steps we can take to end poverty for good.

In clear, accessible prose, Goldblum and Shaddox detail the ways the current system is broken and how it's failing so many of us. They also highlight outdated and ineffective policies that are causing or contributing to this unnecessary problem.

Every chapter features action items listeners can use to combat poverty - both nationwide and in our local communities, including the most effective public policies you can support and how to work hand-in-hand with representatives to affect change.

So far, our attempted solutions have fallen short because they try to "fix" poor people rather than address the underlying problems. Fortunately, it's much easier to fix policy than people. Essential and timely, Broke in America offers a crucial road map for securing a brighter future.

©2021 Joanne Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

“This listen will educate - and infuriate. The authors and JD Jackson describe how poverty could be eradicated and why it hasn't been.... Jackson conveys just the right amount of exasperation, frustration, and understanding to make this a compelling listen. It's never preachy or academic.” (AudioFile Magazine)

“An exploration of why so many Americans are struggling financially.... A down-to-earth overview of the causes and effects of poverty and possible remedies.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“...thoroughly accessible to the non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject of poverty in the United States and what can be done about it.” (Midwest Book Review)

What listeners say about Broke in America

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A must read

If you want to learn more about poverty and possible solutions, this is a great book to read. I’ve witnessed poverty firsthand. Growing up in poverty and “making it out”, it’s good to learn more ways in which I can be a helping hand. Taking some of their recommended action steps can bring change to a community, even if it’s a small change. I recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in helping people in poverty.

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Interesting, but...

I have only finished half of the book. It started as myself wanting to understand better the "Fight for 15". As a business owner who does employ people below that mark. As well as someone who came out of college making less than that. I felt I had a certain upbringing that enabled me to be empathetic.

What this book does for me so far is give me a little bit of understanding. I felt this book was really meant for people who have had no to very little interaction with people who are poorer. As most of the stories are presented in a way that the reader/listener is ignorant to the material.

The action steps... were forgettable for the most part. I didn't feel a call to action as the stories were not that impactful to me.

I would say that this book is best consumed by chapter with breaks in between. Give time to digest the material. A complementary book to go with this is "Good Economics in Hard Times". As that explores deeper the issues presented in this book.


Overall, the book is fine. It might be a better fit for someone else. But I will still refer to the book from time to time. It just won't be a primary read that is a "must finish".

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Good info but painfully narrated

I listened to this is 1.9 speed. Yes, that is insane. The narration is painfully slow and hard to listen to, which is unfortunate because there is good info to be found in the book

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Absolutely a must read!

Puts poverty under the microscope! Clearly reveals this crippling American autoimmune disease. This book also offers way to treat and defeat this inhuman and sociopathic USA disease. For all of those who want to wipe out poverty in America, this is absolutely a must read!

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Broke In America

I like the whole book. This is an excellent researched and written book. It should be a Best Seller. I have learned so much about who America is and about. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. This means grade school kids to.