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Improving Poor People Hardcover – March 20, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0691029948 ISBN-10: 0691029946

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

" Unresolved tension between activism and scholarship" has informed University of Pennsylvania professor Katz's research for three decades. Like many of his longer works, the four essays in this work deal with that tension by offering "interpretations of the past grounded in analytic social history, freed of comforting myths [in an effort to] reframe discussions of great public issues." Katz has probed these subjects--the history of welfare; the people once dubbed "the undeserving poor" and now called "the underclass" ; urban schools; and the ways poor people have managed to survive in the U.S.--at greater length elsewhere. The appeal of these essays is that they are at once more personal, describing how Katz became involved in researching each issue, and more synthetic, tracing across the past two centuries of constantly shifting American attitudes toward the ill-defined concepts of "public" and "private," the limits of localism, and the role of government, and demonstrating that thoughtful history confounds political mythology's simple generalizations and neat solutions. A provocative, stimulating exploration that clarifies which approaches in the ever-contentious debate over the "right" approach to poverty are genuinely new and which are generations old. Mary Carroll

Review

"As a concise overview of twenty-five years of writing on poverty, welfare, and public education, this is an exceptionally valuable and important book....It will be read widely by social scientists, policy makers, and concerned citizens."--Molly Ladd-Taylor, Journal of American History

"A must reading for all social workers ... interested in the current debate about the role of government in social welfare. Katz's keen historical analysis informs us what our response to need has been and poses questions that we need to ask to avoid future errors."--Edward J. Gumz, Families in Society

"A provocative, stimulating exploration that clarifies which approaches in the ever-contentious debate over the "right" approach to poverty are genuinely new and which are generations old."--Booklist

"No historian has written more wisely on urban poverty and social welfare policy in this country, and [Katz] is at his commanding best here."--Kai Erikson, The Nation
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