by Cathryn Conroy (Gaithersburg, Maryland): No matter where you are on the political spectrum, this book will make you think. It might make you cry. It might make you angry. But I can almost guarantee that you will have some visceral reaction to it.

Approach it with an open mind, and it could very well change how you view poor people and—are you ready for this?—your own guilty role in keeping them poor.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Matthew Desmond, a professor of sociology at Princeton University, this book examines not only why there is so much poverty in the United States, but also how to eliminate it. It is filled with facts and footnotes, but it is also a bit preachy in parts—and that righteous preachiness is exactly what it will take for most of us to sit up and pay attention.

Think poverty isn’t that big of a problem? Think again. The United States is the richest country in the world with more poverty than any other advanced democracy. Almost one in nine Americans (and one in eight children) live in poverty. And while Desmond details the surprising figures, that is only the beginning.

The real shocker of this book is the answer to two big questions: WHY is there so much poverty? WHO is to blame for it? The answer is me. And you. Are you scoffing at that? I would have, too, before I read this book. Desmond lays out clear, concise, and tough-to-argue-against assertions about how some lives are made small and poor so others may grow big and rich.

He also offers real and thoughtful solutions to poverty that are both innovative and obvious—and just might work. And even though his ideas will not raise the federal budget deficit, they will require new policies, renewed political movements, and a real effort from each of us, all of which will be difficult to enact in this polarized political environment in which we are living now.

Find out: • How wealthier people benefit from poverty in myriad ways.

• How most big companies seek new ways to limit their obligations to workers. Exhibit A is the growth of gig jobs that come with no benefits and often come with expenses the worker must bear.

• Who receives the highest amount of money from the government in entitlements, tax breaks, and subsidies. (Spoiler: It’s not the poor.)

• Why so many poor people do not take advantage of government programs to which they are fully entitled. Billions in dollars of allocated aid is never claimed.

• How giving choices to poor people is the antidote to exploitation.

• Specific things you can do to become a “poverty abolitionist.” Warning: This isn’t easy.

Read it if you are brave enough!