Poverty and the Government in America: A Historical Encyclopedia

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More About This Textbook


Poverty and the Government in America: A Historical Encyclopedia looks at one of the most important and controversial issues in U.S. history. Debated vigorously every election year, poverty is a topic that no politician at any level of government can escape. Ranging from colonial times to the New Deal, from Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty to welfare reform and beyond, it is the only encyclopedia focused exclusively on policy initiatives aimed at underprivileged citizens and the impact of those initiatives on the nation.

Poverty and the Government in America offers over 170 entries on policies implemented to alleviate poverty—their historic contexts, rationales, and legacies. The encyclopedia also features separate essays on how poverty has been addressed at federal, state, local, and Native American tribal levels throughout U.S. history. Complimented by a richly detailed chronology and a wealth of primary documents, these features help readers grasp both the broad contours of government efforts to fight poverty and the details and results of specific policies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Recommended for high school, public, and college libraries, especially those supporting a curriculum need."


Library Journal

"This is a two-volume encyclopedia containing 170 alphabetical, cross-referenced entries — from 'Jane Addams' to 'Works Progress Administration' — detailing historical aspects of governmental involvement in fighting poverty in the United States. The essays cover policy directives, legislations, important individuals, organizations, and concepts, including, to name just a few, the Black Panther Party, child abuse and poverty, the Civil Rights Movement, Eugene Debs, the earned income tax credit, the Family and Medical Leave Act, homeless shelters, Herbert Hoover, the Indian New Deal, labor unions, living-wage laws, Huey Long, the National Labor Relations Act, private charity, Margaret Sanger, segregation laws, teen pregnancy prevention, and vouchers. Also included are introductory essays describing poverty responses at the levels of local, state, federal, and tribal governments."


Reference & Research Book News

"…this scholarly guide will be useful to libraries supporting programs in governmental affairs and public policy."


Lawrence Looks at Books

"Recommended for college and public libraries."



"This is a useful information source for students, practitioners, and citizens in political science, education, justice studies, human rights, and social activism. Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."



"Librarians should consider this set, as its historical perspective is extensive, its writing style clear, and its material is useful."


School Library Journal

"For a topic that may appear on the surface to be niche in scope, Sreenivasan ultimately delivers a useful and broadly applicable reference work."


Reference & User Services Quarterly

"Jyotsna Sreenivasan has written almost 700 pages on poverty and she has written them in a wonderfully clear and readable way….I can certainly commend this book as a workmanlike addition to the library shelves…"


Reference Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—A concise, comprehensive look at poverty and how the U.S. government has grappled with the problem, this title approaches its subject through 4 essays about local, state, federal, and tribal governments; a 45-page chronology of events and concepts from the 1500s to 2008; and 170 alphabetically arranged articles. The latter resources include discussions about, and sometimes the text of, legislation (e.g., the Sheppard-Towner Maternity and Infancy Act of 1921, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Homestead Act of 1862) and broad topics (e.g., eugenics, full employment, Eleanor Roosevelt, Social Security Act). Articles are easy to read with single-sentence definitions starting each one. There are 45 primary-source documents and extensive sidebars. Sources and Web sites are included in each article. Librarians should consider this set, as its historical perspective is extensive, its writing style is clear, and its material is useful.—Linda Beck, Indian Valley Public Library, Telford, PA
Library Journal
This two-volume set contains 170 articles by Sreenivasan (Utopias in American History), who has also written numerous children's books. Volume 1 begins with four essays addressing poverty in relation to local governments, state governments, federal governments, and tribal governments in the United States. A 40-page chronology follows. Subsequently, 170 alphabetically arranged articles focus on U.S. policy, as well as influences on individuals or groups important to the topic of poverty. The articles are generally two to three pages long, including brief bibliographies, with most covering topics relevant to the 20th and 21st centuries, but there are also articles on issues from earlier times. Sample entries include "Jane Addams," "Child Abuse & Poverty," "Great Society," "Earned Income Tax Credit," "Eugenics," "Indian Removal Act of 1830," and even "Public Libraries." Forty-five of the articles are followed by primary sources, often excerpts from a larger document. While many are cited as having been extracted from print, several are cited web pages. In randomly visiting five of the cited web pages, three did not retrieve the cited document, although, as in the case of the Franklin D. Roosevelt address, it was possible to navigate the site to locate the document. BOTTOM LINE Recommended for high school, public, and college libraries, especially those supporting a curriculum need. Libraries already owning ABC-CLIO's 2004 Poverty in the United States: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, and Policy or looking for a strictly academic approach may be satisfied with that title.—Lura Sanborn, St. Paul's Sch. Lib., NH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598841688
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/2009
  • Pages: 632
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 2.20 (d)

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