In this work of social journalism, a spotlight is cast on a population we find it easy, or convenient, to overlook. "While the national economy has been growing, the economic prospects of most Americans have been dimming," William Finnegan writes. "A new American class structure is being born - one that is harsher, in many ways, than the one it is replacing. Some people are thriving in it, of course. This book is about some families who are not. More particularly, it's about their children who are teenagers and young adults, about their lives and times, how they speak and act as they try to find their way in this cold new world." Finnegan spent time with families in four communities across America and became an intimate observer of the lives revealed in these portraits: a fifteen-year-old drug dealer in blighted New Haven, Connecticut; a sleepy Texas town transformed when crack arrives; Mexican American teenagers in Washington State, unable to relate to their immigrant parents and trying to find an identity in gangs; jobless young white supremacists in a downwardly mobile L.A. suburb.