×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Miles to Go: A Personal History of Social Policy
     

Miles to Go: A Personal History of Social Policy

by Daniel Patrick Moynihan
 

Has liberalism lost its way—or merely its voice? This book by one of the nation's most insightful, articulate, and powerful Democrats at last breaks the silence that has greeted the Republican Party's revolution of 1994. When voters handed Democrats their worst defeat in 100 years, New Yorkers returned Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the Senate for his fourth term.

Overview

Has liberalism lost its way—or merely its voice? This book by one of the nation's most insightful, articulate, and powerful Democrats at last breaks the silence that has greeted the Republican Party's revolution of 1994. When voters handed Democrats their worst defeat in 100 years, New Yorkers returned Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the Senate for his fourth term. Amid the wreck of his party's control and the disarray of programs and policies he has championed for three decades, Senator Moynihan here takes stock of the politics, economics, and social problems that have brought us to this pass. With a clarity and civility far too rare in the political arena, he offers a wide-ranging meditation on the nation's social strategies for the last 60 years, as well as a vision for the years to come.

Because Senator Moynihan has long been a defender of the policies whose fortunes he follows here, Miles to Go is in a sense autobiographical, an exemplary account of the social life of the body politic. As it guides us through government's attempts to grapple with thorny problems like family disintegration, welfare, health care, deviance, and addiction, Moynihan writes of "The Coming of Age of American Social Policy." Through most of our history American social policy has dealt with issues that first arose in Europe, and essentially followed European models. Now, in a post-industrial society we face issues that first appear in the United States for which we will have to devise our own responses. Ringing with the wisdom of experience, decency, and common sense, Miles to Go asks "why liberalism cannot be taught what conservatives seem to know instinctively"—to heed the political and moral sentiments of the people and reshape itself for the coming age.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Moynihan, the senior U.S. senator from New York and one of the most distinguished figures on the political landscape today, gives his view of what happened between the Social Security Act of 1935 and the present. In his latest book, he has combined a mix of historical perspective, contemporary comment and personal reminiscences. Of the latter, quite a few could be considered self-congratulatory. The statistics presented are impressive, especially in the areas of welfare, medical, education and voting patterns. However, some do seem a bit fatuous. One of these predicts a revolt of the lowest quartile in aptitude and education against "the ultimate injustice of a society based upon merit." Fortunately for those of us who may not be around to witness it, Moynihan doesn't see this uprising occurring until 2031. The social reform of the New Deal, he argues, was successful in aiding Americans for whom poverty was solely a lack of resources (e.g. the elderly). It failed, however, where "poverty had its origin in social behavior." He argues that there are no workable European models for us to adopt as we have in the past; and, without being specific about plans, is cautiously optimistic that the country will find policies that will address social inequities and the realities of "post-traditional society." Presumably, the author has drawn his title from the classic Robert Frost poem "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening." Like Frost's metaphorical pony, the book tends to meander at times, but it is still well worth the reader's attention. (Oct.)
Library Journal
In tracing America's social policy since the 1960s, Moynihan is well versed in the subject, having served in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations and having authored many of the policies on civil rights, drugs, and welfare. Reflecting on past, present, and future social strategies, Moynihan paints a picture that differs dramatically from that of many contemporaries. For example, he argues that Reagan's economic policies were meant to create deficits so large that Congress would have no choice but to make deep cuts in social programs. On the drug wars, Moynihan posits that if all resources are put into enforcing drug laws and not into treatment, the problem will never go away. He also notes that society today has become so desensitized to violence that deviance has almost become accepted as a part of life. The problem, as Moynihan sees it, is not that government programs don't work but that they aren't designed to solve the problems of a postindustrial America. With the current climate in Washington, this will be a tough sell. But, as Moynihan points out, his research in this area has withstood past criticism only to be proven correct a generation later. His thought-provoking book is strongly recommended for academic social policy collections and larger public libraries.Patricia Hatch, Emmanuel Coll. Lib, Boston
Booknews
New York's influential Democratic Senator assesses the politics, economics, and social problems that have shaped our nation thus far, and looks ahead to the future. He examines government's attempts to grapple with problems like family disintegration, welfare, health care, deviance, and addiction, and reflects on ongoing concerns about civil rights and the fate of capitalism. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674574403
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.48(h) x 0.89(d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was the author of numerous books, including On the Law of Nations, and coeditor (with Nathan Glazer) of Ethnicity, both from Harvard.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews