The Best Social Justice eBooks




What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
by Michael J. Sandel
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we allow corporations to pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars? Auctioning admission to elite universities? Selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay?
In What Money Can't Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don't belong? What are the moral limits of markets?
In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life-medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. Is this where we want to be?
In his New York Times bestseller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can't Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society-and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don't honor and that money can't buy?


 



Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself
by Rachel Lloyd
Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals Herself

A deeply moving story by a survivor of the commercial sex industry who has devoted her career to activism and helping other young girls escape "the life"

At thirteen, Rachel Lloyd found herself caught up in a world of pain and abuse, struggling to survive as a child with no responsible adults to support her. Vulnerable yet tough, she eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation. It took time and incredible resilience, but finally, with the help of a local church community, she broke free of her pimp and her past.

Three years later, Lloyd arrived in the United States to work with adult women in the sex industry and soon founded her own nonprofit GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services to meet the needs of other girls with her history. She also earned her GED and won full scholarships to college and a graduate program. Today Lloyd is executive director of GEMS in New York City and has turned it into one of the nation's most groundbreaking nonprofit organizations.

In Girls Like Us, Lloyd reveals the dark, secretive world of her past in stunning cinematic detail. And, with great humanity, she lovingly shares the stories of the girls whose lives she has helped; small victories that have healed her wounds and made her whole. Revelatory, authentic, and brave, Girls Like Us is an unforgettable memoir.


 



Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor Who Heals Them
by Randy Christensen, Rene Denfeld
Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor Who Heals Them

The unforgettable inspiring memoir of one extraordinary doctor who is saving lives in a most unconventional way Ask Me Why I Hurt is the touching and revealing first-person account of the remarkable work of Dr. Randy Christensen. Trained as a pediatrician, he works not in a typical hospital setting but, rather, in a 38-foot Winnebago that has been refitted as a doctor’s office on wheels. His patients are the city’s homeless adolescents and children.

In the shadow of one affluent American city, Dr. Christensen has dedicated his life to caring for society's throwaway kids — the often-abused, unloved children who live on the streets without access to proper health care, all the while fending off constant threats from thugs, gangs, pimps, and other predators. With the Winnebago as his moveable medical center, Christensen and his team travel around the outskirts of Phoenix, attending to the children and teens who need him most.

With tenderness and humor, Dr. Christensen chronicles everything from the struggles of the van’s early beginnings, to the support system it became for the kids, and the ultimate recognition it has achieved over the years. Along with his immense professional challenges, he also describes the trials and joys he faces while raising a growing family with his wife Amy. By turns poignant, heartbreaking, and charming, Dr. Christensen's story is a gripping and rich memoir of his work and family, one of those rare books that stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page.


 



Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal
by Conor Grennan
Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal

One Person Can Make a Difference

In search of adventure, twenty-nine-year-old Conor Grennan traded his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Children's Home, an orphanage in war-torn Nepal.

Conor was initially reluctant to volunteer, unsure whether he had the proper skill, or enough passion, to get involved in a developing country in the middle of a civil war. But he was soon overcome by the herd of rambunctious, resilient children who would challenge and reward him in a way that he had never imagined. When Conor learned the unthinkable truth about their situation, he was stunned: The children were not orphans at all. Child traffickers were promising families in remote villages to protect their children from the civil war-for a huge fee-by taking them to safety. They would then abandon the children far from home, in the chaos of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

For Conor, what began as a footloose adventure becomes a commitment to reunite the children he had grown to love with their families, but this would be no small task. He would risk his life on a journey through the legendary mountains of Nepal, facing the dangers of a bloody civil war and a debilitating injury. Waiting for Conor back in Kathmandu, and hopeful he would make it out before being trapped in by snow, was the woman who would eventually become his wife and share his life's work.

"Little Princes" is a true story of families and children, and what one person is capable of when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. At turns tragic, joyful, and hilarious, "Little Princes" is a testament to the power of faith and the ability of love to carry us beyond our wildest expectations.


 



I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity
by Izzeldin Abuelaish
I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

By turns inspiring and heart-breaking, hopeful and horrifying, I Shall Not Hate is Izzeldin Abuelaish's account of an extraordinary life. A Harvard-trained Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and "who has devoted his life to medicine and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians" (New York Times), Abuelaish has been crossing the lines in the sand that divide Israelis and Palestinians for most of his life — as a physician who treats patients on both sides of the line, as a humanitarian who sees the need for improved health and education for women as the way forward in the Middle East. And, most recently, as the father whose daughters were killed by Israeli soldiers on January 16, 2009, during Israel's incursion into the Gaza Strip. His response to this tragedy made news and won him humanitarian awards around the world. Instead of seeking revenge or sinking into hatred, Abuelaish called for the people in the region to start talking to each other. His deepest hope is that his daughters will be "the last sacrifice on the road to peace between Palestinians and Israelis."


 



Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals
by Saul D. Alinsky
Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals

First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky's impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.” Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.

Contents

Prologue

The Purpose
Of Means and Ends
A Word about Words
The Education of an Organizer
Communication
In the Beginning
Tactics
The Genesis of Tactic Proxy
The Way Ahead


 



A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman
by Lisa J. Shannon, Zainab Salbi
A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman

Lisa Shannon had a good life — a successful business, a fiancé, a home, and security. Then one day in 2005, an episode of Oprah changed her life. The show focused on women in Congo, a place known as the worst place on earth to be a woman. She was suddenly awakened to the atrocities there — millions dead, women being raped, children dying in shocking numbers. It was then that Lisa realized she had to do something — and she did. A Thousand Sisters is Lisa Shannon’s inspiring memoir. She shares her story of how she raised money to sponsor Congolese women beginning with one solo 30-mile run and then founded a national organization, Run for Congo Women. The book chronicles her journeys to the Congo, meeting the sponsored women and hearing their stories. Along the way Lisa is forced to confront herself and learns lessons of survival, fear, gratitude, and love from the women of Africa. A Thousand Sisters is a deeply moving call to action for each person to find in them the thing that brings meaning to a wounded world.


 



The History of White People
by Nell Irvin Painter
The History of White People

A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of “whiteness” — an illuminating work on the history of race and power.

Eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter tells perhaps the most important forgotten story in American history. Beginning at the roots of Western civilization, she traces the invention of the idea of a white race — often for economic, scientific, and political ends. She shows how the origins of American identity in the eighteenth century were intrinsically tied to the elevation of white skin into the embodiment of beauty, power, and intelligence; how the great American intellectuals — including Ralph Waldo Emerson — insisted that only Anglo Saxons were truly American; and how the definitions of who is “white” and who is “American” have evolved over time.

A story filled with towering historical figures, The History of White People closes an enormous gap in a literature that has long focused on the nonwhite, and it forcefully reminds us that the concept of “race” is an all-too-human invention whose meaning, importance, and reality have changed according to a long and rich history. 70 illustrations.


 



The Autobiography of an Execution
by David R. Dow
The Autobiography of an Execution

Near the beginning of The Autobiography of an Execution, David Dow lays his cards on the table."People think that because I am against the death penalty and don't think people should be executed, that I forgive those people for what they did. Well, it isn't my place to forgive people, and if it were, I probably wouldn't. I'm a judgmental and not very forgiving guy. Just ask my wife."

It this spellbinding true crime narrative, Dow takes us inside of prisons, inside the complicated minds of judges, inside execution-administration chambers, into the lives of death row inmates (some shown to be innocent, others not) and even into his own home-where the toll of working on these gnarled and difficult cases is perhaps inevitably paid. He sheds insight onto unexpected phenomena- how even religious lawyer and justices can evince deep rooted support for putting criminals to death- and makes palpable the suspense that clings to every word and action when human lives hang in the balance.


 



The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back
by Kevin Salwen, Hannah Salwen
The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back

It all started when fourteen-year-old Hannah Salwen had a eureka moment. Seeing a homeless man in her neighborhood at the same instant she spotted a man driving a glistening Mercedes, she said, "Dad, if that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal."

Until that day, the Salwens had been caught up like so many of us in the classic American dream — providing a good life for their children, accumulating more and more stuff, doing their part to help others but not really feeling it. So when Hannah was stopped in her tracks by this glaring disparity, her parents knew they had to act on her urge to do something. As a family, they made the extraordinary decision to sell their Atlanta mansion, buy a house half its size, and give half of the sale price to a worthy charity. At first it seemed outlandish: What, are we crazy? Then it became a challenge: We are totally doing this. Their plan eventually took them across the globe and well out of their comfort zone. In the end they learned that they had the power to change a little corner of the world. And they found themselves changing too.

As Kevin Salwen says, "No one else is nuts enough to sell their house, " but what his family discovered along the way will inspire countless others, no matter what their means or resources are. Warm, funny, and deeply moving, The Power of Half is the story of how one family grew closer as they discovered that half could be so much more.


 



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

"As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status — much like their grandparents before them."

In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U. S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community — and all of us — -to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.


 



The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy
by Raj Patel
The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy

"A deeply though-provoking book about the dramatic changes we must make to save the planet from financial madness."-Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

Opening with Oscar Wilde's observation that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing, " Patel shows how our faith in prices as a way of valuing the world is misplaced. He reveals the hidden ecological and social costs of a hamburger (as much as $200), and asks how we came to have markets in the first place. Both the corporate capture of government and our current financial crisis, Patel argues, are a result of our democratically bankrupt political system.

If part one asks how we can rebalance society and limit markets, part two answers by showing how social organizations, in America and around the globe, are finding new ways to describe the world's worth. If we don't want the market to price every aspect of our lives, we need to learn how such organizations have discovered democratic ways in which people, and not simply governments, can play a crucial role in deciding how we might share our world and its resources in common.

This short, timely and inspiring book reveals that our current crisis is not simply the result of too much of the wrong kind of economics. While we need to rethink our economic model, Patel argues that the larger failure beneath the food, climate and economic crises is a political one. If economics is about choices, Patel writes, it isn't often said who gets to make them. The Value of Nothing offers a fresh and accessible way to think about economics and the choices we will all need to make in order to create a sustainable economy and society.


 



Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between the World and Me

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men — bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son — and readers — the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.


 



Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America
by Jill Leovy, Jill Leovy
Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man was shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of hundreds of young men slain in LA every year. His assailant ran down the street, jumped into an SUV, and vanished, hoping to join the vast majority of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes. But as soon as the case was assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shifted. Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential American murder-one young black man slaying another-and a determined crew of detectives whose creed was to pursue justice at all costs for its forgotten victims. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of murder in America-why it happens and how the plague of killings might yet be stopped.


 



Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs
by Johann Hari
Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

New York Times Bestseller

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, thirty-thousand-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world have begun to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.

In Chasing the Scream, Hari reveals his discoveries entirely through the stories of people across the world whose lives have been transformed by this war. They range from a transsexual crack dealer in Brooklyn searching for her mother, to a teenage hit-man in Mexico searching for a way out. It begins with Hari's discovery that at the birth of the drug war, Billie Holiday was stalked and killed by the man who launched this crusade-and it ends with the story of a brave doctor who has led his country to decriminalize every drug, from cannabis to crack, with remarkable results.

Chasing the Scream lays bare what we really have been chasing in our century of drug war-in our hunger for drugs, and in our attempt to destroy them. This book will challenge and change how you think about one of the most controversial-and consequential-questions of our time.


 



Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice — from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship — and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.


 



Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America
by Linda Tirado
Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America

We in America have certain ideas of what it means to be poor. Linda Tirado, in her signature brutally honest yet personable voice, takes all of these preconceived notions and smashes them to bits. She articulates not only what it is to be working poor in America (yes, you can be poor and live in a house and have a job, even two), but what poverty is truly like — on all levels.

Frankly and boldly, Tirado discusses openly how she went from lower-middle class, to sometimes middle class, to poor and everything in between, and in doing so reveals why “poor people don’t always behave the way middle-class America thinks they should.” 


 



A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity
by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn
A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity

An essential, galvanizing narrative about making a difference here and abroad — a road map to becoming the most effective global citizens we can be.

In their number one New York Times best seller Half the Sky, husband-and-wife team Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn brought to light struggles faced by women and girls around the globe, and showcased individuals and institu­tions working to address oppression and expand opportunity. A Path Appears is even more ambi­tious in scale: nothing less than a sweeping tap­estry of people who are making the world a better place and a guide to the ways that we can do the same — whether with a donation of $5 or $5 mil­lion, with our time, by capitalizing on our skills as individuals, or by using the resources of our businesses.

With scrupulous research and on-the-ground reporting, the authors assay the art and science of giving, identify successful local and global initia­tives, and share astonishing stories from the front lines of social progress. We see the compelling, in­spiring truth of how real people have changed the world, upending the idea that one person can’t make a difference.

We meet people like Dr. Gary Slutkin, who devel­oped his landmark Cure Violence program to combat inner-city conflicts in the United States by applying principles of epidemiology; Lester Strong, who left a career as a high-powered television anchor to run an organization bringing in older Americans to tu­tor students in public schools across the country; MIT development economist Esther Duflo, whose pioneering studies of aid effectiveness have revealed new truths about, among other things, the power of hope; and Jessica Posner and Kennedy Odede, who are transforming Kenya’s most notorious slum by ex­panding educational opportunities for girls.

A Path Appears offers practical, results-driven advice on how best each of us can give and reveals the lasting benefits we gain in return. Kristof and WuDunn know better than most how many urgent challenges communities around the world face to­day. Here they offer a timely beacon of hope for our collective future.


 



The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap
by Matt Taibbi, Molly Crabapple
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap

NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER — NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "THE WASHINGTON POST "AND NPR
A scathing portrait of an urgent new American crisis
Over the last two decades, America has been falling deeper and deeper into a statistical mystery:
"Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles."
"Fraud by the rich wipes out 40 percent of the world's wealth. The rich get massively richer. No one goes to jail."
In search of a solution, journalist Matt Taibbi discovered the Divide, the seam in American life where our two most troubling trends-growing wealth inequality and mass incarceration-come together, driven by a dramatic shift in American citizenship: Our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or poverty. The Divide is what allows massively destructive fraud by the hyperwealthy to go unpunished, while turning poverty itself into a crime-but it's impossible to see until you look at these two alarming trends side by side.
In "The Divide, "Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice-the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights.
Through astonishing-and enraging-accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide's punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all.
Praise for "The Divide"
" "
"Ambitious… deeply reported, highly compelling… impossible to put down.""-The New York Times Book Review"
"These are the stories that will keep you up at night… "The Divide" is not just a report from the new America; it is advocacy journalism at its finest.""-Los Angeles Times"
"Taibbi is a relentless investigative reporter. He takes readers inside not only investment banks, hedge funds and the blood sport of short-sellers, but into the lives of the needy, minorities, street drifters and illegal immigrants… "The Divide" is an important book. Its documentation is powerful and shocking.""-The Washington Post"
"Captivating… "The Divide" enshrines its author's position as one of the most important voices in contemporary American journalism."-"The Independent" (UK)
"Taibbi [is] perhaps the greatest reporter on Wall Street's crimes in the modern era."-"Salon


 






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