Deaths of despair from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism are rising dramatically in the United States, claiming hundreds of thousands of American lives. Anne Case and Angus Deaton explain the overwhelming surge in these deaths and shed light on the social and economic forces that are making life harder for the working class. As the college educated become healthier and wealthier, adults without a degree are literally dying from pain and despair. Case and Deaton tie the crisis to the weakening position of labor, the growing power of corporations, and a rapacious health-care sector that redistributes working-class wages into the pockets of the wealthy. This critically important book paints a troubling portrait of the American dream in decline, and provides solutions that can rein in capitalism's excesses and make it work for everyone.