Nonfiction: Broke, USA by Gary Rivlin

Broke USA book coverIn the 1970s and ‘80s activists began to hound banks for redlining – an unwritten rule that banks would avoid putting branches in poorer neighborhoods. By the 1990s, other entrepreneurs stepped into the gap that the banks had left. Pawnshops, check cashing companies, payday lenders, and furniture rental stores filled working poor neighborhoods. In Broke USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc., Gary Rivlin examines the businesses that serve people living paycheck to paycheck. Rivlin begins neutrally, but as a cycle of debt is revealed he pounces on these businesses as predatory in this surprising page-turner. If you like easy-to-read exposés on American economics like Nickel and Dimed, try Broke USA.