I actually disagree with those who compare this to Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed. Nor is it similar to George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London. Yes, there is some commonality in the focus on how poor people work and live, and on the business of feeding a nation. What's unexpected and impressive is that MacMillan really did quite a bit of research and investigative reporting. The book is enriched by having so much economic and sociological information mixed in with her personal observations. This is a boon, because her account of her personal experiences are much less stylish than in the works mentioned above. Nonetheless, MacMillan's book is a compelling read because she blends ethnography with investigative reporting rather well. I agree that it's not that conclusive, and essentially a series of magazine articles rather than a unified work. But is it reasonable to expect so much from a book on such a complex topic?