Common Interest

Leslie Dunbar, Author Pantheon Books $22.95 (233p) ISBN 978-0-394-56558-3
Adding to the growing literature that documents poverty in America today, Dunbar's essays, interspersed with interviews with ``America's poor,'' will not convince anybody who does not already agree that social welfare programs need serious attention. The book astutely poses a relationship in our society between employment and full citizenship, but unfortunately, some of the key arguments are too vague. Interviews with the handicapped, black-lung victims, AIDS sufferers, mill workers and others who have been short-changed by the government invigorate the academic prose. However, few are emotionally poignant, and they are a long-winded means of informing readers of existing assistance programs. One vignette presents gripes from a professor's wife who complains they've had to bankrupt their family to send their kids to Ivy League collegeshardly a sympathetic case. Dunbar, editor of Minority Report , mixes in considerable propaganda and sarcasm at the cost of intelligent solutions. With social issues a timely topic in this election year, one wishes Dunbar had made his book either a survey of conditions with specific proposals or a rousing call to action with a utopian visionnot this uneasy mix of both. (October)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-679-73965-4
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