For most people, the Great Crash of 2008 has meant troubling times. Not so for those in the flourishing poverty industry, for whom the economic woes spell an opportunity to expand and grow. These mercenary entrepreneurs have taken advantage of an era of deregulation to devise high-priced products to sell to the credit-hungry working poor, including the instant tax refund and the payday loan. In the process, they've created an industry larger than the casino business.
"A Good Read"
Much of New Orleans still sat underwater the first time Gary Rivlin glimpsed the city after Hurricane Katrina. Then a staff reporter for The New York Times, he was heading into the city to survey the damage. The interstate was eerily empty. Soldiers in uniform and armed with assault rifles stopped him. Water reached the eaves of houses for as far as the eye could see.
"Fascinating account of New Orleans during Katrina"
In 1983 Chicago elected Harold Washington as the city's first black mayor. This is the story of Washington's improbable victory over Jane Byrne, heir to the late Richard J. Daley's political empire, and over Daley's eldest son. It's the story of a coalition outside the party's mainstream coming to power and ruling in the country's most political of cities. In Fire on the Prairie, Gary Rivlin reveals the personalities and philosophies of those who were at the center of events, from black separatists such as Lu Palmer to community organizers such as Jesse Jackson....
"Good material, terrible narrator"
Gary Rivlin tells the story of Ron Conway, the man who has placed more bets on Internet start-ups than anyone else in Silicon Valley. Conway is a listener-friendly way into the realm of angel financing, where independently wealthy investors link up with companies just as they are being born. The Godfather of Silicon Valley takes you into this fascinating world on the edges of the financial universe, where the pace is frantic, the story lines are rich, and every moment is perilous.
"The history of Angel Financing in Silicon Valley"
It was the most mundane of arguments, teenagers fighting over a stolen bicycle and bruised egos on a hot summer evening in one of the worst neighborhoods in Oakland, California. No one was supposed to get hurt, not seriously. But by the end of the night, a 13-year-old boy was lying dead in the street from a gunshot wound, and Tony Davis, the 18-year-old drug dealer and small-time thug who had fired the gun from the backseat of his friend's car, was on his way to a life in prison.
Drive-by shootings are almost by definition anonymous - there are no fingerprints, no fibers, no hairs, nor any other telltale clues typical of most crime scenes. There is usually no hard evidence beyond ballistics and a car description so generic it is virtually useless. In Drive-By, Gary Rivlin penetrates the anonymity of one such incident and creates an extraordinary portrait of the people entangled in it. He takes us behind the headlines, and through bold investigative reporting, finds the individuals so often left out of the story.