cover image Poverty in America

Poverty in America

Milton Meltzer. William Morrow & Company, $15 (122pp) ISBN 978-0-688-05911-8

With powerful eloquence, Meltzer combats the deep-rooted belief that the rich and poor ""get what each deserves'' and that hard work always pays off. He pounds at the distressing truthwe are a nation with a long, consistent history of inadequate attention to poverty. His perspective about myths is eye-opening: frontier days did not mean ample opportunity for economic success, and the New Deal did not help large numbers. Meltzer provides graphic descriptions of the children of poverty, and of middle-class people who have been thrust unexpectedly into poverty statistics because of job loss. The analysis of other groups is also far-reaching and up-to-the-moment, including the current plight of farmers and the impact of our export-import situation on American livelihoods. Meltzer tells sad tales of government stinginess, the feminization of poverty, and the harm economic shackling does to society as a whole. (12-up)