Poor People : Because I was bad in my last life. Because Allah has willed it. Because the rich do nothing for the poor. Because the poor do nothing for themselves. These are just some of the answers to the simple yet groundbreaking question William T. Vollmann asks in cities and villages around the globe: "Why are you poor?" Vollmann's Poor People struggles to confront poverty in all its hopelessness and brutality, its pride and abject fear, its fierce misery and its quiet resignation. Poor People allows the poor to speak for themselves, explaining the causes and consequences of their impoverishment in their own cultural, social, and religious terms. The result of Vollmann's fearless journey is a look at poverty unlike any other. Complete with more than 100 powerfully affecting photographs - taken of the interviewees by the author himself - this series of vignettes and searing insights represents a tremendous step toward an understanding of this age-old social ill. With intense compassion and a scrupulously unpatronizing eye, Vollmann invites his readers to recognize in our fellow human beings their full dignity, fallibility, pride, and pain, and the power of their hard-fought resilience.