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Journalist Abramsky (Hard Times Blues) combines an account of his own seven-week experiment in living on a poverty budget with moving vignettes of men and women who have fallen through society's frayed safety net and are suffering from "food insecurity." Tens of millions of Americans live in "a continual state of anxiety"; to malnutrition is added the further suffering of shame and despair. Focusing on communities in Western states, the author uncovers the tragedy of the collapse of the middle class. Unionized industrial giants like General Motors have fallen on hard times and global economic restructuring has had a devastating impact on many workers, often stripping them of benefits accumulated over decades. Although providing a vivid glimpse into the world of food banks and soup kitchens, the book, which reads like a series of newspaper articles, offers few suggestions for solving the problem aside from challenging political leaders to make corrections to a system gone tragically awry. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.