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Poor People by William T. Vollmann
Poor People is William T. Vollmann's (Europe Central) examination into why people are poor. He traveled to some of the worst slums around the world asking people, "Why are you poor?" The answers varied from fate and destiny, to being punished for sins in a previous life, to others asserting that they're not poor at all. Some of the impoverished rail at their situation, some accept it, and others are resigned to it being something they can't control. Vollmann explores the action of industries and governments that contribute to poverty, as well as his own feelings about his interactions with the poor in his life. Poor People has received positive reviews with the Seattle Times saying, "By steering clear of statistics and eschewing the normal social-science observations, Vollmann has written a book of enormous power — one that honors the magnitude of each story it records and allows the downtrodden to say in their own words why life has laid them so low."