Traveling Light: On the Road with America's Poor

Traveling Light: On the Road with America's Poor

by Kath Weston
Pub. Date:
Beacon Press


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Traveling Light: On the Road with America's Poor

How far can you get on two tacos, one Dr. Pepper, and a little bit of conversation? What happens when you're broke and you need to get to a new job, an ailing parent, a powwow, college, or a funeral on the other side of the country? And after decades of globalization, what kind of America will you glimpse through the window on your way? For five years, Kath Weston rode the bus to find out.

Traveling Light is not just another book about people stuck in poverty. Rather, it's a book about how people move through poverty and their insights into the sweeping economic changes that affect us all. The result is a moving meditation on living poor in the world's wealthiest nation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807041383
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 09/02/2009
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Kath Weston grew up working-class, dreamed of becoming a writer, put in time on the street, and trained as an anthropologist on scholarship at the University of Chicago and Stanford. She is professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia and has taught at Arizona State, Harvard, Wellesley, Brandeis, and Tokyo University. Her books include Traveling Light: On the Road with America's Poor, Families We ChooseLong Slow BurnRender Me, Gender MeGender in Real Time; and The Apprenticeship and Blue-Collar System.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Freedom in My Pocket IX

It's a Poor Rat That's Got But One Hole: An Introduction to Living Poor in a Rich Country XIII

I When the Desert Fails to Bloom: Albuquerque to Missoula via Vegas

Pennies from Heaven 3

Final Call for Socorro, Truth or Consequences, Hatch, Las Cruces . . . 10

Everybody Out! Hands Up against the Bus! 13

The Trucker's Lament 21

Keep Your Eyes on the Burrito 25

Those Fools up at the VA 29

Who You Calling "Food Stamps"? 33

Next Stop, Sin City 34

Wait Training 38

The Trash Bag Racer Rally and Other Extreme Sports 41

Fight! 44

You Don't Say 48

Already Got a Job and a Lot of Good It Done Me 52

The Singing Bus 59

II Leaving the City of Cranes: Boston to Milwaukee in Two Alimentary Acts

Awash in a Great Green Sea 67

Master and Commander 72

I Just Hate to Travel Like This 81

Y'all Shouldn't Have Ate That Chicken 87

Too-Tired Meets His Maker 92

Ladies and Children First 95

Anybody Asks You for the Time, You Don't Have It 103

Sick as a Downsized Dog 106

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? 109

III Going Coastal: Five Hundred Years of the Poverty Draft, New York to St. Augustine

Port Question Authority 121

The Amazing Debt-Defying Disappearing Bus 126

Todos Que Hermanos 129

Little Box of Terrors 135

Dr. King on the Waterfront 140

Ready to Die but Never Will 146

What Did You Do With My Aunt? 147

The Castillo Economy 151

IV The Fine Arts of Moving in Circles: El Monte to Bishop and Back

Riding Along with Princess Di 159

All Snakes, No Ladders 163

Swagger 169

The Philosopher-King Does Sacramento 175

To See What There Is to See 180

Books Mobile and the Secret Stash 185

ThisPlace Is a Dump 189

Ride in Beauty 194

V. Living on Debts and Promises: Montgomery after the Boycott, New Orleans before the Storm

Mickey's Hot Little Cousin 201

The Back Is Where It's At 204

Take a Deep Breath 214

Vietnam Thirty Plus 220

Snap! Judgments 224

Lovebug 228

Another Get-Poor-Quick Scheme 231

The Borrowed Time Club 239

Acknowledgments 245

Author's Note 249

Notes 251

Read On 255

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