Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Tightrope
Cover of Tightrope
Tightrope
Americans Reaching for Hope
Borrow Borrow Borrow
New York Times Best Seller   

With stark poignancy and political dispassion Tightrope addresses the crisis in working-class America while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure. This must-read book “shows how we can and must do better” (Katie Couric).
"A deft and uniquely credible exploration of rural America, and of other left-behind pockets of our country. One of the most important books I've read on the state of our disunion."—Tara Westover, author of Educated  
Drawing us deep into an “other America,” the authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the people with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon. It’s 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 a quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. 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.
With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.
New York Times Best Seller   

With stark poignancy and political dispassion Tightrope addresses the crisis in working-class America while focusing on solutions to mend a half century of governmental failure. This must-read book “shows how we can and must do better” (Katie Couric).
"A deft and uniquely credible exploration of rural America, and of other left-behind pockets of our country. One of the most important books I've read on the state of our disunion."—Tara Westover, author of Educated  
Drawing us deep into an “other America,” the authors tell this story, in part, through the lives of some of the people with whom Kristof grew up, in rural Yamhill, Oregon. It’s 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 a quarter of the children on Kristof’s old school bus died in adulthood from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents. 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.
With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore.
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book 1

    The Kids on the Number 6 School Bus

    Is this land made for you and me?
    —woody guthrie

    Dee Knapp was asleep when her husband, Gary, stumbled drunk­enly into their white frame house after a night out drinking. Bracing for trouble, Dee jumped up and ran to the kitchen. Gary, muscular and compact with short black hair above a long face, was a decent fellow when sober, a brute when drunk.

    “Get me dinner!” he shouted as he wobbled toward the kitchen, and Dee scrambled to turn the electric stove on and throw leftovers into a pan. But she wasn’t fast enough, and he hit her with his fist. A lithe brunette in her early thirties, with shoulder-length hair and calloused hands, Dee realized that this was one of those times she was destined to be a punching bag. Devoted to her five children, she especially hated to be beaten by Gary because of the loathing for their father this engen­dered in them.

    “Dinner!” Gary roared again. “Get me dinner!” He grabbed his loaded .22 rifle and pointed it at her menacingly. She bolted past Gary and out the front door into the night.

    Gary’s shouting had awoken the children upstairs. “Mom,” Farlan, her eldest son, hissed from the second- floor window as she ran around the side of the house. Dee looked up and he threw down a sleeping bag. She grabbed it in midair and ran into the protective darkness of their two- and- a half- acre property, seeking a place to spend the night hiding in the tall grass, waiting for Gary to sleep off his rage.

    “Damn that woman,” Gary cursed from inside the house. Clutching his .22, he lunged out the front door, then looked wildly into the dark-ness. A white, wooden Pentecostal church was on one side, one of two churches serving the tiny hamlet of Cove Orchard, Oregon. Beyond the church was Highway 47, leading to the small town of Yamhill, three miles to the south. Dee was sheltering in the darkness somewhere between the church and the neighbor’s fence line. Gary lifted the rifle to his shoulder and fired off a volley of shots into the field where his wife was cowering. Dee stiffened, hugging the ground.

    The children listened, terrified. Helpless and furious, Farlan clenched his fists and vowed to himself that someday he would kill his dad. In the field, seventy feet away, with no trees to hide behind, Dee held her breath as bullets smacked into the ground nearby. This happened from time to time, and Dee knew that her husband would soon tire of shooting into the night.

    Finally, Gary stumbled back into the house and ordered a sullen Farlan downstairs to cook dinner for him. Dee could hear all this from her hiding spot, for Gary didn’t know how to speak softly. She gradually felt her heartbeat return to normal. She spread the sleeping bag and lay down inside it, listening to her husband’s curses from the house, hoping that he wouldn’t beat Farlan, praying that the other kids would stay quiet upstairs.

    It was another violent, tumultuous evening, but strangely Dee says that she was still buoyed by hope that day in 1973, for despite the fear and violence, she believed that in some ways life truly was getting better— especially for her kids. Like her husband, Dee had been raised in a cramped household without electricity or plumbing. The youngest of ten children, she had grown up poor after her father, a construction worker, died when she was nine years old. Dee had dropped out of school in fifth grade, while Gary had had virtually no education and could barely write his name. She and Gary had started their married life as migrant...
About the Author-
  • Nicholas D. Kristof has coauthored several books with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, including A Path Appears and Half the Sky. Together they were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for their coverage of China. They also received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2009. Now an op-ed columnist for the New York Times, Kristof was previously bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He won his second Pulitzer in 2006 for his columns on Darfur.
    Sheryl WuDunn has coauthored several books with her husband, Nicholas D. Kristof, including Half the Sky and A Path Appears. Together they were awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for their coverage of China. They also received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2009. WuDunn worked at the New York Times as a business editor and foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing. She now works in banking.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 4, 2019
    Husband and wife journalists Kristof and WuDunn (A Path Appears) turn a compassionate lens on the failed state of working-class American communities in this stark, fluidly written portrait. In profiling residents of Baltimore, Md., and Pine Bluff, Ark., as well as Kristof’s classmates from rural Yamhill, Ore., the authors seek to counteract the “cruel narrative that working-class struggle is about bad choices, laziness, and vices.” They urge readers to reflect not only on “individual irresponsibility” but on the “collective irresponsibility” of American society, especially in comparison to other first-world countries where the social safety net is stronger. The authors highlight the successes of local nonprofits, including a Pine Bluff after-school program, but contend that pockets of individual charity cannot solve the nation’s systemic problems. Threaded throughout are policy suggestions emphasizing the importance of early childhood education, universal health coverage, fair tax rates, commonsense drug policy, affordable housing, and strong worker protections. Kristof and WuDunn avoid pity while creating empathy for their subjects, and effectively advocate for a “morality of grace” to which readers should hold policy makers accountable. This essential, clear-eyed account provides worthy solutions to some of America’s most complex socioeconomic problems.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2019
    Pulitzer Prize winners Kristof and WuDunn (A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, 2014, etc.) zero in on working-class woes and how to ease them. With an earnest blend of shoe-leather reporting and advocacy for social justice, the married journalists send a clear message to anyone who wants to see working-class Americans prosper: Stop blaming them for making "bad choices" and for failing to "pull themselves up by the bootstraps." While acknowledging the need for personal responsibility--and for aid from private charities--the authors make a forceful case that the penalties for missteps fall unequally on the rich and poor in spheres that include education, health care, employment, and the judicial system; to end the injustices, the government also must act. "After Harvey Weinstein was arrested for sexual assault following accusations by more than eighty women, he was freed on bail," they write. "In contrast, a young adult caught smoking marijuana may be unable to afford bail and stuck indefinitely in jail, losing his job and, unable to make payments, perhaps his home and car as well." In making their case, the authors describe what they saw in Kristof's hometown of Yamhill, Oregon, where the loss of well-paying union jobs and other upheavals have left a community in peril. Elsewhere, they find hope in initiatives such as the Remote Area Medical aid group, which offers free health care in Appalachia, and the Women in Recovery program in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which gives some offenders counseling instead of prison time, leading to lower recidivism rates. At times, the authors sound less like print journalists than like politicians (we're wasting "America's most important resource, its people") or Oprah ("Ten Steps You Can Take in the Next Ten Minutes To Make a Difference"). Whatever the tone, the book is enhanced by the more than two dozen black-and-white photographs by award-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario. An ardent and timely case for taking a multipronged approach to ending working-class America's long decline.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from November 15, 2019
    Life expectancy in the U.S. has decreased for three years in a row (which didn't happen for the previous 100 years); a fact that hits close to home for Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and husband-and-wife authors Kristof and WuDunn (A Path Appears, 2014; Half the Sky, 2009). In Kristof's farming hometown of Yamhill, Oregon, where his family still has deep ties, a quarter of his former classmates have died early deaths from addiction, suicide, and accidents. The authors set out here to investigate why the U.S. lags behind, sometimes far behind, many other countries in aspects of health, education, safety, and well-being, and why, for many families, things are worse than they were a generation ago. Moving from the micro to the macro, they tell the stories of their Yamhill friends and others they've met across the country, sharing their photos as well as studies and figures that deepen readers' understanding. While they cover policy failures of the last half-century, they also affirm that we're no longer dealing in Republican or Democratic issues, but issues of Americans' very survival. Highlighting successful small-scale programs like Tulsa's rehabilitative Women in Recovery program, they emphasize that there are potentially nationwide solutions. Both researched and personal, this will be hard for readers to stop thinking about.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Kristof and WuDunn dig into crucial issues facing Americans in a book that will instigate lots of media discussion.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2019, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from November 1, 2019

    The authors, a Pulitzer Prize-winning husband-and-wife journalist team (Half the Sky), turn their attention to America's overlooked and left-behind working class. With compassion and empathy, they pull readers into the lives of families who have been in a downward spiral for several generations. Stories about Kristof's former classmates and neighbors in his hometown of Yamhill, OR, are stark and troubling, but the authors balance them with other stories about organizations that have been effective and which have made Herculean efforts to turn lives around or mitigate despair. Kristof and WuDunn note that their goal is not to propose policy, but rather to share illustrative stories in order to make clear the enormity of the problem. They bring a human face to issues such as drug addiction, incarceration, family dysfunction, and declining prospects for employment. By comparing America's policies to those of other wealthy nations, they show that solutions are available for "escalators" out of poverty. They also offer ten ways readers can personally make a difference. (A companion PBS documentary is planned.) VERDICT Enlightening for all concerned Americans, but especially for those interested in social justice issues.--Caren Nichter, Univ. of Tennessee at Martin

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2019

    Pulitzer Prize winners Kristof and WuDunn, authors of best-selling works like Half the Sky, here look at the hardships confronting working-class America today. One core story: In Kristof's Oregon hometown, a quarter of the kids on his old school bus route are now dead from drugs, alcohol, suicide, or reckless accidents even as blue-collar jobs fade away.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 1 titles every 7 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Tightrope
Tightrope
Americans Reaching for Hope
Nicholas D. Kristof
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel