From East Timor to Timbuktu, John Stackhouse has met and lived with hundreds of the world's poor. When he set out on this journey in 1991, he was certain that the new age of global markets and economic reforms would end decades of extreme hardship in the developing world. But as the nineties rolled on, he found poverty still entrenched in dozens of countries -- except where people had some control over their lives.
In an intriguing blend of travel writing and analysis, moving portraits and comic tales, Stackhouse tells the personal stories of some of the world's poorest people and shows how they are going to end global poverty in the next century. He provides haunting details of lives and communities destroyed by misplaced aid and government interventions. But more importantly he shows how individuals are finding the creativity and means to make their own lives better -- from women in the remote shea-nut forests of West Africa who are learning to bypass their corrupt government to cash in on rich international markets to a trade union of prostitutes in Calcutta that is actively demanding basic human rights. Stackhouse's journey proves that poverty is not an inevitable part of the human condition but a direct result of human actions. Poverty is something that people can change.