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The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964–1980 Paperback – November 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"Makes an extremely significant intervention into several literatures—on social movements, on domestic policy, and on local government and power structures. It shares both a strong point of view and a clear commitment not to oversimplify or romanticize the grassroots activism it depicts, and this combination makes it convincing and, at times, gripping. The fact that the book treats civil rights activism among Mexican Americans, Indians, and Asian Americans is particularly attractive."—Linda Gordon, winner of the Bancroft Prize for Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits

"The essays in this exciting collection bring to life the War on Poverty at the grassroots, where it was really fought. They emphasize the interpenetration of the poverty war and civil rights movement and highlight the energy unleashed by the commitment to the 'maximum feasible participation' of the poor. Annelise Orleck’s introduction provides one of the best overviews of the War on Poverty ever written, and her stunning conclusion offers a measured, reasoned defense of the program’s achievements and legacy--a message needed now more than ever."—Michael B. Katz, University of Pennsylvania

“Contributors to the volume chronicle vibrant and largely unknown histories while not shying away from the flaws and failings of the movement. . . .This book helps readers to understand the turbulent era out of which it emerged and why it remains so controversial to this day.”—Bob Edmonds, McCormick Messenger

The War on Poverty: A New Grassroots History, 1964-1980 offers a powerful collection key to any social issues collection and covers poverty and civil rights battles at the grassroots level. . .provides a powerful survey of the movement Johnson began. Very highly recommended!”—Midwest Book Review

“[A]s these essays collectively argue that the War on Poverty was more successful than historians—and certainly most Americans—have commonly recognized, [The War on Poverty] makes a valuable and insightful contribution.”—Sean P. Cunningham, Southwestern Historical Quarterly

[The War on Poverty] is history, not economic or political theory, and its power comes from its empirical approach . . . The stories contained in this volume of how its battles have been lost and won can help us see how it might be fought more successfully in the future.”—Duncan Richter, Studies in American Culture

“There is little to criticize about this collection as a whole. The most we can suggest is that other historians read this work, take its questions and methods to heart, and get to work producing the next round of scholarship on the War on Poverty. Coming at a time when poverty encroaches upon even greater swaths of our society and the political will to combat it seems to have dwindled to null, such research should be in high demand, making this collection essential reading for any scholar of twentieth-century U.S. history.” —Jonathan Free, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

About the Author

Annelise Orleck is a professor of history at Dartmouth College. She is the author or editor of four previous books including Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty. Lisa Gayle Hazirjian is an activist and independent scholar.

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