Jason DeParle, a reporter for The New York Times, is the author of A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century.
(July 2020)


How to Fix Child Poverty

Terri Childs and her daughter Miracle in front of their apartment in the McBride housing project, shortly before it was closed and then demolished, Cairo, Illinois, 2018

Invisible Americans: The Tragic Cost of Child Poverty

by Jeff Madrick

A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty

a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, edited by Greg Duncan and Suzanne Le Menestrel
It’s been three decades since the Annie E. Casey Foundation published its first Kids Count report, an annual collection of statistics on child well-being attractively packaged and broken up by state to maximize local coverage. After the presidency of Ronald Reagan had filled the airwaves with images of crack houses and tales of welfare queens, Kids Count was part of an advocacy effort to reframe the poverty debate around children. The reasons were clear: “kids” were sympathetic in a way that “poor people” were not.

The American Nightmare

Friends and family at the funeral of a bus driver who was shot and killed during an encounter with a gang member as he was returning from his daily route, Apopa, El Salvador, September 2016

The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life

by Lauren Markham
Lauren Markham is everything that Donald Trump is not—empathetic, honest, painstakingly factual, thoughtful, and fair. Her beautifully written book, The Far Away Brothers, follows Ernesto and Raúl Flores, seventeen-year-old twins, from a Salvadoran village ruled by gangsters from MS-13 to a high school in Oakland, where she served as their counselor. It can be read as a supplement to the current news, a chronicle of the problems that Central Americans are fleeing and the horrors they suffer in flight. But it transcends the crisis. Markham’s deep, frank reporting is also useful in thinking ahead to the challenges of assimilation, for the struggling twins and many others like them.

When Government Drew the Color Line

Kerry James Marshall: Better Homes, Better Gardens, 1994. Marshall’s work will be on view in the exhibition ‘Figuring History,’ at the Seattle Art Museum, February 15–May 13, 2018.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

by Richard Rothstein
Government agencies used public housing to clear mixed neighborhoods and create segregated ones. Governments built highways as buffers to keep the races apart. They used federal mortgage insurance to usher in an era of suburbanization on the condition that developers keep blacks out. From New Dealers to county sheriffs, government agencies at every level helped impose segregation.

The Sea Swallows People

Samuele Pucillo, a local boy from Lampedusa, in Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary film about the refugee crisis, Fire at Sea

Fire at Sea

a film by Gianfranco Rosi

All at Sea: The Policy Challenges of Rescue, Interception, and Long-Term Response to Maritime Migration

by Kathleen Newland, with Elizabeth Collett, Kate Hooper, and Sarah Flamm
Fire at Sea “How many people?” A man with an Italian accent shouts through radio static. The voice from the sea sounds desperate. “Two—two hundred fifty.” The dispatcher is patient, a little tired. “Your position?” he says. The desperate man answers, “We beg you!… In the name of God!” “Your …

Kicked Out in America!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2014; photograph by Mark Power from the series ‘Postcards from America’

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

by Matthew Desmond
Matthew Desmond’s gripping and important book Evicted tells disturbing stories in spellbinding detail in service of two main points. One is that growing numbers of low-income households pay crushing shares of their incomes for shelter, leaving inadequate sums for items as basic as medicine and food. The second point is that the evictions aren’t just a consequence of poverty but also a cause.

A Letter on Rape in Prisons

The following letter was received in response to Jason DeParle’s “The American Prison Nightmare” in the April 12 issue of The New York Review. To the Editors: Jason DeParle’s thoughtful and wide-ranging overview of American incarceration policy and its consequences hardly mentions rape in detention. Yet this is not a …

The American Prison Nightmare

Punishment and Inequality in America

by Bruce Western

Confronting Confinement: A Report of the Commission on Safety and Abuse in America's Prisons

by John J. Gibbons and Nicholas de B. Katzenbach, co-chairs
Among the many jarring sights I have witnessed as a reporter writing about poverty, one of the saddest involved a father, a son, and a maximum security prison outside Joliet, Illinois. The son, a voluble thirteen-year-old named Dwayne, wasn’t a bad kid but had become increasingly troublesome in class. His …