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Improving Poor People:
The Welfare State, the "Underclass," and Urban Schools as History
Michael B. Katz

Book Description | Table of Contents


"Michael Katz is perhaps the premier historian of American social welfare. And in the case of his work, it really is true that an understanding of the past illuminates the present, and especially the present debacle over welfare reform."--Frances Fox Piven

"Michael Katz is not just the leading historian of urban poverty and social policy in the United States; he is of that rare breed of scholars who believes in changing the world he interprets. And as he demonstrates in these powerful, moving essays on welfare reform, the 'underclass' debate, and urban education, interpreting the past is not only essential for creating a different future but often just as difficult. By consistently putting people at the center of the story--their actions, their mistakes, their conflicts, their visions--Katz reminds us why grand theories or single-issue panaceas cannot stand in for careful historical research. His deeply personal account of his struggle to straddle the worlds of academics and activism adds a rich dimension to an already razor-sharp and hardnosed analysis. Anyone truly concerned about the plight of America's inner cities must read this book."--Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class

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File created: 4/17/2014

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