Dale Maharidge's 1985 book Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass — a chronicle of the poor in Reagan-era America — didn't sell many copies when it came out in 1985. Lucky for the journalist (at left), Springsteen picked it up in the early 1990s and found it absolutely riveting, inspiring him to write many of the songs on 1995's The Ghost of Tom Joad. All the attention led to a new edition of the book in 1996, featuring a new introduction by Bruce Springsteen himself. Nearly 30 years later, the book remains a powerful look at how institutional forces make it nearly impossible for many Americans to get ahead.
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