Traveling Light

Traveling Light

On the Road with America's Poor

By Kath Weston

Beacon Press (MA), Paperback, 9780807041383, 262pp.

Publication Date: September 2009

How far can you get on two tacos, one Dr. Pepper, and a little bit of conversation? What happens when you're broke and you need to get to a new job, an ailing parent, a powwow, college, or a funeral on the other side of the country? And after decades of globalization, what kind of America will you glimpse through the window on your way? For five years, Kath Weston rode the bus to find out.
"Traveling Light" is not just another book about people stuck in poverty. Rather, it's a book about how people "move through" poverty and their insights into the sweeping economic changes that affect us all. The result is a moving meditation on living poor in the world's wealthiest nation.

About the Author
Kath Weston grew up working-class, dreamed of becoming a writer, put in time on the street, and trained as an anthropologist on scholarship at the University of Chicago and Stanford. She has taught at Arizona State, Harvard, Wellesley, Brandeis, and Tokyo University. In 2008 she will join the faculty at the University of Virginia. Her previous books include Families We Choose; Long Slow Burn; Render Me, Gender Me; Gender in Real Time; and The Apprenticeship and Blue-Collar System.

Praise For Traveling Light

In the tradition of Studs Terkel . . . Years of motion are covered in visually descriptive language which wraps around perfectly chosen metaphors and shorthand images standing in for larger social phenomena.—Todd Mercer, ForeWord

"[Weston's] eyes are sharp and her heart is in the right place. A gritty portrait of hard-pressed people moving through some of the least attractive real estate in America."—Kirkus Reviews

"Brilliant, haunting, powerful, and ultimately inspiring . . . The nation needs to reckon with what Weston has uncovered."—Juliet Schor

"Traveling Light stands as that rare thing, a work of witness. But it is also that rarest thing, a great read. In the tradition of adventuresome road books and anguished social commentary, Weston has created a testament to the abiding greatness of our national soul."—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway

"[An] accessible gem . . . This book is a piece of 21st-century Americana in motion, and its characters and cities will resonate and linger with readers."—Publishers Weekly

"[Weston] is gifted in making real contact with the most unlikely people who are not unlikely to her."—Barbara Rich, Charlottesville Daily Progress