The best books to understand racial and economic inequality in the USA

Peter Temin Author Of The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy
By Peter Temin

The Books I Picked & Why

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michelle Alexander

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Why this book?

It makes a good case for seeing our current mass incarceration as a new Jim Crow law. And I have become convinced that the US cannot reform public education without eliminating mass incarceration.


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The Strange Career of Jim Crow

By C. Vann Woodward

The Strange Career of Jim Crow

Why this book?

This is a classic description of the original Jim Crow laws that everyone should read. Everyone should realize that we are repeating history and appreciate what observers were saying about that earlier experience.


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The College Dropout Scandal

By David Kirp

The College Dropout Scandal

Why this book?

This is a positive book that shows how education can help Blacks and other minorities get an education that will help them stay out of mass incarceration. It is good to have a positive program as we attempt to deal with American racism.


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A Theory of Economic History

By Sir John R. Hicks

A Theory of Economic History

Why this book?

I love this book for two reasons. It condenses a massive amount of economic history into a small book, and it shows how our unequal societies are backtracking to older models of the economy.


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Feudal Society

By Marc Bloch

Feudal Society

Why this book?

I have always loved this classic economic history that is so understanding and elegant that I cannot resist quoting it and rereading it as well.


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