This book does a good job of calling attention to, examining and exemplifying the problem of language discrimination in the United States. This is of course very positive as far as it goes. I have, however, a few minor comments on how this study might have gone further:
(1) The author doesn't discuss the issue of varying levels of intelligibility of accents. All accents are not created equal. Some are easier to understand, others present real comprehension problems. For example, an accent that has consistent vowel values (say, a French or Swedish accent) tends to be easier to understand than one with unpredictable vowel values (some varieties of Chinese English, such as Taiwan English, are notorious for this, and can be quite difficult to follow). Non-Englishlike prosody, e.g. failing to stress new and important information, but then putting stress on less important function words like "to" and "her", can really confuse a listener. And the more of a burden you put on the listener, the less patience you can expect from them.
(2) I disagree with the author that European accents are "never" the target of discrimination. You find them made fun of in all kinds of 19th and 20th century literature, e.g. Sinclair Lewis's _Main Street_ (which parodies immigrant German and Swedish accents in Minnesota in the 1910s). Notably, it is farmers and other humble folk who are often the targets of such parodies.
The author is thus right in zeroing in on *power* relations as the key issue, probably even more than intelligibility. We are less willing to work hard to understand someone who is viewed as less powerful than ourselves or the group we identify with, and tend to be more patient with those we look up to.
For a bit of perspective, think of the deference and patience many of us will show when listening to Stephen Hawking "speaking" through his synthesizer, though this kind of speech is considerably more unnatural and difficult to process than many foreign accents. We're less willing to work as hard when someone seems less worthwhile and more expendable to us. A very simple principle, but its roots are deep and ramifications far-reaching.
(3) This book fails to address the *reasons* for the typical US lack of empathy toward and interest in not just foreigners, but anyone who is too different from the mainstream. We learn to shun or fear differentness, and to deal with it by avoiding any reference to it, hiding from it, trying to pretend it's not there. This is *not* the way to bridge relations between two groups prone to mutual misunderstanding. I suggest that comedian Russell Peters' head-on approach is much more effective - and fun.
(4) I would classify this book more as persuasive discourse rather than an objective study. The advantage of this is a consistent point of view and stand on the main issues - additionally justified by the author's being on the side of "right". The drawback is that this kind of work is unlikely to voice any defense of the other side, and it thus glosses over deeper issues, e.g. the *reasons* behind language discrimination. Lippi-Green adopts a rather emotional tone in her presentation, communicating a feeling of "Isn't this outrageous? How can we allow this?! It must stop!" Fair enough, but besides not delving into where the attitudes come from, neither does she suggest viable, practical ways that might help improve the situation.
I offer two possible starting points:
(1) Foreign language education should be vastly strengthened in the US. Students should be given the feeling that speaking another language is important, highly useful in the real world, and something to be admired. They should themselves experience the feeling of someone else calling the shots and giving them funny feedback when they don't express themselves very aptly or gracefully. Being in the other guy's shoes is a powerful way of generating understanding and true empathy, and fostering patience.
(2) Immigrants and other foreign language speakers should be treated by teachers and other adults as the treasure chests they are of information about a different way of living, talking and thinking. If they were often presented and viewed as people with something genuinely interesting and "cool" to offer, children would certainly be more empathic to their viewpoints and also to the style of English they speak.
These are just two possibilities. With so, so many people from other cultures and language groups now living in the US, I hope that this important issue gets more of the attention it deserves, in the form of more books like this, but also in the whole education system, the media, and all of society. This book opens the door a crack. We need to push it wide open, enter the room, and start taking substantive action to effect meaningful change.