Out of Poverty

And Into Something More Comfortable

Publisher: Vintage Canada
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. Time and again, Stackhouse sees what happens when people have a say in the fate of their schools, forests, fields and governments: they do what no development agency or government mega-project has been able to achieve. They thrive. They may continue to be humble but they are no longer desperate. John Stackhouse's eight-year journey among the poor leads us away from despair. Poverty, he writes, is not an inevitable part of the human condition but a direct result of human actions - and something that can be remedied.


From Chapter 1

No one along the highway could tell us where Biharipur was, not the paan shop men or the bidi wallahs or the horse-cart drivers. We tried the hospital, the police stand, the local pharmacy. “Biharipur?” Each person looked equally confused, as if the village of seven hundred people had...
Read More


"Stackhouse is a great storyteller— with a sharp eye for detail and a light touch of humour."—The Globe and Mail

"The important thing about Stackhouse is that he does not spend his time with the high and mighty in their statehouses. Instead, he treks out to villages and forests, or inward to city slums, to unfold the real lives of the real people who lie behind all those numbing statistics on poverty and deprivation."—The Gazette (Montreal)

“”What is not surprising is that Stackhouse describes many situations in which well-intentioned aid from wealthy countries, including Canada, is ineffective at best or at its worst exacerbates already bad situations….I’m not the only one who thinks he is the best reporter in Canada, a national treasure.” -- Waterloo Record

“…[Stackhouse] is no Jan Morris, chock-full of purple passages. He uses simple words that suit the village people out of whom he coaxes their life stores, and has a sharp eye (and doubtless a bulging notebook) for detail and a light touch of humour.” --Clyde Sanger, The Globe and Mail

“Stackhouse is a gifted reporter. His recountings of the daily grind that’s the lot of the poor capture not only physical details but also the moral struggles that animate and plague their lives.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“…and provides a view of the people, politics and environment goes beyond the every-day news flashes and appeals for aid….If you are a travel-writing enthusiast and enjoy a good tourist’s tale, Out of Poverty is well worth the effort.” —The Vancouver Sun