School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 7-9-Hanmer makes a case for increasing diversity in education and the workplace, especially for African Americans, the group on which the book focuses. She provides background about the historic mistreatment and exclusion of blacks, along with women and other minorities, and explains how the idea of affirmative action came about during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Executive orders, laws, and court decisions that have shaped the course of such programs over the years, up to and including the Civil Rights Law of 1991, are outlined. Although criticisms of the policy are also included, they are usually countered with reasons why such programs are necessary, and the tone of the book implies that most of the opposing viewpoints are not really fair or accurate. Numerous case histories cite only successful programs. The average-to-poor quality black-and-white photos and reproductions add little to the text. Geraldine Woods's Affirmative Action (Watts, 1989) is a better written, more objective presentation that more clearly examines both sides of this issue. Additional discussion of the entire subject of societal responsibilities to minorities and women can be found in Social Justice (Greenhaven, 1990).-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
Jeanne TrinerThe key to this new addition to the Issues in Focus series is in the title's question mark. Hanmer gives us not only a well-organized and thorough history of affirmative action from the early days of the civil rights movement to today, but also an even-handed discussion of the arguments on both sides of the issue. While she presents affirmative action in both employment and education as an important step that has made it possible to strike down some of the racial and gender barriers of the past, she also frankly discusses failures, mistakes, and the problems of reverse discrimination, both real and perceived. Her reliance on case law and statistical studies to demonstrate the success and failures of the various approaches to affirmative action results in an authoritative and at times challenging presentation. However, examples of cases in which affirmative action played a part, scattered throughout on specially boxed pages, serve to break up the text and, along with the many black-and-white pictures, offer immediacy. A valuable addition, particularly for government, sociology, and multicultural curricula. Chapter notes are appended.
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