On the Fringe: The Dispossessed in America

On the Fringe: The Dispossessed in America

by Henry Miller

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Library Journal - Library Journal
Miller, a professor of social welfare, contends that the dispossessed by whatever name (hobos, vagrants, vagabonds, beggars, tramps, transients, even cowboys and hippies) are the consequence of changes in the labor force: `` . . . when the labor market becomes gutted, too many hands compete for too few tasks.'' Tracing the history of homelessness from the Middle Ages to present-day America, Miller focuses on society's attitude toward tran sients, which sometimes romanticized their free spirit life but more often considered them morally flawed. Modern homelessness was more extensively covered in Peter Rossi's Down and Out in America ( LJ 11/1/89), while Jonathan Kozol provided personal accounts of the homeless and an agenda for reform in his Rachel and Her Children ( LJ 3/15/88). Still, this title is recommended as a worthwhile contribution to the history of attitudes toward the dispossessed in America. See also Thomas Kenyon and Justine Blau's What You Can Do To Help the Homeless, reviewed in this issue, p. 172.--Ed.-- Anne Twitchell, National Research Council Lib., Washington, D.C.

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