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Publishers WeeklyJeter and Pierre, both Washington Post journalists, examine some of the pressing political and social causes of the day-health care, organized labor, the "war on terror," and incarceration-through an anecdotal lens. Some of these stories are personal, as when Pierre discusses his family's struggles with poverty, or Jeter probes how a lifetime of enduring white racism broke his father's spirit. Other subjects seem more obviously to be placeholders for a cause, like the convicted murderer who shines light on a racist penal system or the union activist who can't afford health insurance after her retirement. The attempt to straddle the personal and political falls short however. The magnitude of specific struggles seems diluted when they are lumped together and manipulated by the authors to illustrate black disenchantment from the nation's first black president.
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