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The Triumphs of Joseph: How Today's Community Healers Are Reviving Our Streets and Neighborhoods Hardcover – January 26, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1ST edition (January 26, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684827425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684827421
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,601,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Woodson, founder and president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise and recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, argues for increased recognition and support of agents of grass-roots change in the inner city. Like William Julius Wilson (The Truly Disadvantaged, LJ 10/1/87), Woodson claims that race-based programs like affirmative action disproportionately benefit more privileged people of color. In addition, Woodson blames elitist Civil Rights leaders, social service bureaucrats, and academics for protecting their own positions more than empowering the disadvantaged. He also indicts the media for focusing on dysfunction among the poor but glossing over the moral failings of the privileged. His portraits of three effective programs highlight the potential of flexible programs, open to all, that are run by local people in a way that involves clients and demands discipline and service. While Woodson makes a compelling argument, he does ignore the broader structural causes of lack of economic opportunity. Recommended for larger public libraries.?Paula Dempsey, Loyola Univ., Chicago
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Where Thomas Sowell and other black conservatives are popular, this parable of moral regeneration through religious-based grassroots groups emphasizing self-help will have appeal. Woodson is founder and president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, formerly affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, and a 1990 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. Here he uses the biblical tale of Joseph and the pharaoh to draw a bright line between "modern-day Josephs," who "have forged an effective internal, spiritual response to the spiritual and moral atrophy of our civil society which goes far beyond the limitations of conventional remedies of professional therapy and economic assistance," and "the Pharaoh's Court" --the civil rights establishment, the "poverty industry," some politicians and academics--who preach victimization and define racism as the source of all woe. There's useful information on grassroots programs' success in dealing with addiction, parolees, and former gang members, among others. As for Woodson's polemics: one either believes the Bible and Adam Smith have all the answers, or one doesn't Mary Carroll

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read.
Aleks Kalashnik
Every black person in the United States ought to devote an evening or two to reading this book.
John McWhorter
This is a book full of compelling evidence and real-life stories.
Steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John McWhorter on February 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Every black person in the United States ought to devote an evening or two to reading this book. It shows in a concise 100-plus pages that "Black History" includes the triumphs of self-sufficiency which were considered ordinary before the Civil Rights movement taught the race that "progress" meant handouts and lowered standards of evaluation. The inner cities are slowly rising out of the ashes, not through government charity but through residents working the system to change their own destinies, making their peace with an unfair past. No book says this better. Everyone -- buy this book and regain your hope.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Woodsen gives an eloquent and powerful case for the endurence and ingenuity of the individual human soul versus the shocking waste and disregard of people caused by government social programs. He is definetly not "politically correct" in his assessment of the stark failure of the "poverty industry" to stop the tide of death and despair. Dr. Woodsen offers an inspirational solution that really works and takes the reader along to meet the brave and ordinary people who make a difference.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rampant reader on March 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Triumphs of Joseph is simply one of the most important books to be written since the Civil Rights Movement. I teach diversity classes and I use Triumphs as a primary text to offset the constant presentation by black leaders (often self-proclaimed) and the media that African Americans are somehow deficient in ordinary resilience and social strategies and need the paternalistic help of governmental and private agencies. Why do so many people who are not disadvantaged feel free to define for the disadvantaged what their needs, wants, and goals are? Dr. Woodson is sure to offend those who are the vicarious victims and parasitic victimizers of the poor but the validity of his message cannot be denied. Coming from a disadvantaged background myself, I have lived some of the situations he describes yet today I hold a doctorate and teach at the college level. Dr. Woodson is definitely a winner with a winning plan. If you want to be a winner, stick with the winners.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aleks Kalashnik on August 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. The further I read into it the more I was moved by the narrative, and the stories.
The book has very few statistics and is not heavy in technical detail. But whatever its perceived fault could be, it pales in comparison with the passion, power and truthfulness of its message.
Learn about the small, scattered and underresourced groups of men and women that are transforming the inner cities of America and the implication that this has for the social renewal of all of our socieity.
This book is inspiring, practical, and immensely moving. I believe it should be read by every person in United States who has even a bit of honesty to face the problems of our communities, even a little strength to care about others, and a desire to have their eyes opened to the powerful solutions that are available in very humble quarters!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve on December 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I admit to being 15 years late to Robert Woodson's book, but not to Robert Woodson. As a devoted admirer and student of the late Jack Kemp, I heard Mr. Woodson's name several times over the years and I was aware of his work in communities and neighborhoods. I recently decided, in the midst of another project related to Jack Kemp, to get a copy of The Triumphs of Joseph.

I read this book in four reading sessions, from cover to cover. Again, I admit to being late to the party with this book, but perhaps a fresh, relevant review will inspire some new readers to find a copy and take action in their own communities and neighborhoods.

This book is not a list of Robert Woodson's accomplishments. It is not a brag sheet. Far from it. Woodson analyzes, evaluates and observes the current state of the civil rights movement (current as of 1998) and the seemingly unending cycle of poverty in America. He looks back at the history of the movement to supposedly make people free and independent, a movement which has scored uncounted amounts of taxpayer money, while leaving very little evidence of success.

Among the great terms Woodson used to to identify those more interested in personal power than in helping others find their way were "Guardians of Grievance" and "poverty industry." After Woodson's introduction and brief history of the poverty industry and the so-called civil rights movement, he takes the reader through the stories of some people who really are making a difference right where they live.
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