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Fucked at Birth: Recalibrating the American Dream for the 2020s

Fucked at Birth: Recalibrating the American Dream for the 2020s

Written by Dale Maharidge

Narrated by Kevin Stillwell


Fucked at Birth: Recalibrating the American Dream for the 2020s

Written by Dale Maharidge

Narrated by Kevin Stillwell

ratings:
4.5/5 (33 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 1, 2021
ISBN:
9781094418865
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Editor's Note

Destined for poverty…

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dale Maharidge has written extensively about America’s long history of economic depression, poverty, and class divides. For his latest book, Maharidge drove across the country to investigate the impact the pandemic had on the most economically vulnerable Americans. “F**cked at Birth” is also a reminder that even those who weren’t born into poverty aren’t immune to the effects of one bad year.

Description

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dale Maharidge has spent his career documenting the downward spiral of the American working class, and his new book explores the limits of the American Dream in the 2020s. Poverty is both reality and destiny for increasing numbers of people in the 2020s and, as Maharidge discovers spray-painted inside an abandoned gas station in the California desert, it is a fate often handed down from birth. Motivated by this haunting phrase—“Fucked at Birth”—Maharidge explores the realities of being poor in America in the coming decade, as pandemic, economic crisis and social revolution up-end the country. Part raw memoir, part dogged, investigative journalism, Fucked At Birth channels the history of poverty in America to help inform the voices Maharidge encounters daily. In an unprecedented time of social activism amid economic crisis, when voices everywhere are rising up for change, Maharidge’s journey channels the spirits of George Orwell and James Agee, raising questions about class, privilege, and the very concept of “upward mobility,” while serving as a final call to action. From Sacramento to Denver, Youngstown to New York City, Fucked At Birth dares readers to see themselves in those suffering most, and to finally—after decades of refusal—recalibrate what we are going to do about it.
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 1, 2021
ISBN:
9781094418865
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

For nearly four decades, Dale Maharidge has been one of America's leading chroniclers of poverty. Alongside photographer Michael S. Williamson, his book And Their Children After Them won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1990, revisiting the places and people of Depression-era America, depicted in Walker Evans's and James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Also with Williamson, Maharidge produced Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass, which Bruce Springsteen has credited as an influence for songs such as "Youngstown" and "The New Timer."


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Reviews

What people think about Fucked at Birth

4.4
33 ratings / 3 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    Basically was a long political opinion article. Some good info. Good narrator.
  • (5/5)
    Not sure the words other then It’s a most read
  • (3/5)

    3 people found this helpful

    I think this is one of the modern journalists poisoning the current generation of human beings with a crippling victim mentality because people LOVE to pay others who say, "You're the victim here. You can't help yourself." Big money in that! Lots of praise, too. Which is part of the reason that the American dream is dying. On one side you have people saying, "You're helpless," and on the other side you have people saying, "You're invincible, and if ever not, that's completely your OWN fault. You need no help at all." The answers are somewhere in-between, and none of them will ever be sold to you by a journalist. In fact, the best and more sincere advice is free.

    I also think the title of the book is ridiculous. Not because there's a curse word in it... but because IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL and links the word F--- with the word birth... which is... I can't even convey in words how stupid that is.

    Some people make a living out of preying on the scared and vulnerable among us (I'm one of those people, chronically and painfully ill for the last 40 years. Since age 5 when I became ill, I had virtually no chance of ever doing anything in life. By age 9, I could have been put in a nursing home and forgotten forever, but my parents lived off the 50s American dream and had a little gas left in the tank). I got through college (it took me 13 years) and I eventually found a home on the Internet where I was able to rest and work at the same time. My opportunity didn't arise until the middle of 2019, just before COVID hit the next year. Before then, I had spent the years between 2010 and 2019 having 6 surgeries, 5 of them major surgeries. My last surgery was a reverse total shoulder replacement in February of 2019. And then in my loneliness I got online and started looking for something to do.

    The tax laws in this country need to change. Rewarding businesses for failure needs to change. And anti-trust laws need to be enforced again.

    Other than that, opportunity is everywhere in places it never was before. Just ask me. I'm shopping for my first house in 2021. Yep. That's right. At 45. Cause my "opportunity" wasn't born until about 2010 and I didn't find it online until 2019. But if you look, opportunity is everywhere. And if you don't see it, look inward. You'll find it. If you don't... taxes and taxpayers are there for a reason, to help those who cannot help themselves, and to support the country that supports back. But please don't take this person's word for it that 2020 is imploding but 1975 was a grand time.

    I was born into a world where I should have died in a nursing home. In 1975, the ADA had just passed, but no business took it seriously and neither did the schools I would attend, so I should have been doomed. The technologies that later helped me - namely, joint replacements, I have 5 of them and am a virtual cyborg over here typing to you - weren't perfected yet and I hadn't stopped growing, so I didn't have much of a chance. If anyone was "f---ed at birth" as this person says, it was me. But I wasn't.

    There's always hope. The thing about Americans is, if we see a door, we take our time walking through it. We analyze it. We fight over it. But If we see a brick wall, we run straight through it. We know it's time. We know we've got to get through this. There's still an American dream. A lot of journalists are just telling you that there isn't because they get paid to spread despair. And a lot of GOP members are telling you that your situations are ALL your fault; indeed, they're not. Take heart, if I am here and free and independent, you can be too. Don't give up. The answer is always somewhere in-between. A country that learns to take the middle road will always reach its destination... and the people who respectfully communicate and care for their fellow human beings will always have something to look forward to in the future.

    Now about changing those tax laws... that's step 1. The middle class is hurting, and if the middle class collapses, nothing above it or below it will survive. A class that has ignored its pain and its grief and its struggles for as long as there's been an America needs us. The rich have always needed us; they need us to buy things from them, to rent property from them, and to borrow from them. The poor have always needed us, too. To help with their healthcare, to give them a fighting chance in life. Now the middle class is saying, "America, we're drained. We're tired. We're angry. And we need your help."

    What's the answer? The answer is, "You helped us. Now we're going to help you."

    3 people found this helpful