Length: 320 pages
Audiobook Length: 9 hours and 43 minutes
First Published: 2020
The Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of the acclaimed, best-selling Half the Sky now issue a plea–deeply personal and told through the lives of real Americans–to address the crisis in working-class America, while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure.
With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightrope draws us deep into an “other America.” The authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the children with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon, an area that prospered for much of the twentieth century but has been devastated in the last few decades as blue-collar jobs disappeared. About one-quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. And while these particular stories unfolded in one corner of the country, they are representative of many places the authors write about, ranging from the Dakotas and Oklahoma to New York and Virginia. But here too are stories about resurgence, among them: Annette Dove, who has devoted her life to helping the teenagers of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as they navigate the chaotic reality of growing up poor; Daniel McDowell, of Baltimore, whose tale of opioid addiction and recovery suggests that there are viable ways to solve our nation’s drug epidemic. These accounts, illustrated with searing images by Lynsey Addario, the award-winning photographer, provide a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.
About Nicholas D. Kristof
Nicholas D. Kristof is a Pulitzer Prize-winning op-ed columnist for The New York Times. He has co-authored several books with his wife Sheryl WuDunn, including Half the Sky, China Wakes, A Path Appears and Tightrope.
About Sheryl WuDunn
Sheryl WuDunn is a business executive, writer, and former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. With her husband, she has co-authored several books, including Half the Sky, China Wakes, A Path Appears and Tightrope. Currently, she works as a senior managing director for an investment banking firm.