Seeking Respect in Back Row America

Book - 2019
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Once or twice a generation, an author reveals what life is like for the truly needy and disenfranchised. Chris Arnade cuts through the jargon and abstractions to expose the reality of our current class divide in stark pictures and unforgettable true stories. The people he got to know, from Alabama to California and Maine to Nevada, gave Arnade a new respect for the dignity and resilience of what he calls America's Back Row. This book is his attempt to help the rest of us truly see, hear, and respect millions of people who've been left behind.
Publisher: [New York, NY] : Sentinel, 2019.
ISBN: 9780525534730
Branch Call Number: 362.50973 ARNADE
Characteristics: x, 284 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm


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Aug 23, 2019

This book is a beautiful compilation of prose and photographs, one man's attempt to share stories from people in "back row America": the places from which most have fled and where no one goes on vacation. His journey and the people he finds are not remarkable, but are moving in this unique slice of life tale. The author teaches readers that the people and events about which he writes are a worthy part of the same ordinary world as you. The author could have focused a bit less on his own journey and role, but I feel as though he ultimately stayed true to the goal of letting people share their stories in a dignified manner. As well, this book falls somewhat awkwardly in physical size and genre between a standard non-fiction book and a coffee table photography book. However, the storytelling and photographs are artfully paired. The message of this book is powerful, timely, and significant in the world today. It's not a pleasant or fun read, but it's a book that can change you.


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