Rachel And Her Children: Homeless Families In America

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"Extraordinarily affecting....A very important book....To read and remember the stories in this book, to take them to heart, is to be called as a witness."
THE BOSTON GLOBE
There is no safety net for the millions of heartbroken refugees from the American Dream, scattered helplessly in any city you can name. RACHEL AND HER CHILDREN is an unforgettable record for humanity, of the desperate voices of the men, women, and especially children, and ...
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Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America

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Overview

"Extraordinarily affecting....A very important book....To read and remember the stories in this book, to take them to heart, is to be called as a witness."
THE BOSTON GLOBE
There is no safety net for the millions of heartbroken refugees from the American Dream, scattered helplessly in any city you can name. RACHEL AND HER CHILDREN is an unforgettable record for humanity, of the desperate voices of the men, women, and especially children, and their hourly struggle for survival, homeless in America.

"Important and compelling . . .cking facts and figures with the affecting, even tragic stories and voices of homeless families . . . read this book."--USA Today.

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Editorial Reviews

Anna Quindlen
This book is passionate and often unbearably moving. It is also sometimes dull, incomplete and rhetorical. It is painfully uneven. . . . Mr. Kozol has his whole heart in it. I wish it was enough. Assembled just right, the factual underpinnings interspersed in judicious and selective amounts with the stories, the people more in evidence, the author less so, this could have been a book which not only preached to the converted, but converted the hard of heart. It probably will not do that, and that is a shame. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To write this ``jolting firsthand report,'' Kozol spent months among the homeless, whose depressing stories, interwoven with his commentaries, tell of infant deaths, malnutrition, hunger, loss of dignity and desperation. ``This powerful volume,'' PW maintained, `` forces one to ask: `What are our national priorities?' '' Author tour. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Here are the less visible homelesswomen and children living in shelters and hotels under degrading conditions. Kozol, known for his books on education, introduces us to some of those at the bottom of America's underclass, the residents of a hotel for the homeless in New York, which can only be described as a house of horrors. Kozol faults everyone involved: governments, social agencies, landlords, the courts, and indifferent Americans in general for permitting the perpetuation of the shocking conditions endured by homeless families. This book could be the incentive needed to spark humane solutions. Highly recommended. BOMC selection. Anne Twitchell, EPA Headquarters Lib., Washington, D.C.
School Library Journal
YA A horrifying, staggering book about the homeless in this country as specifically exemplified by those who are housed in the Martinique Hotel in New York. Through direct, simply stat ed interviews with several families in the Martinique over a period of time, Kozol systematically strips away the stereotypic litany of what is wrong with welfare recipients (too lazy to work, etc.). He shows repeated case histories of people held captive by a welfare sys tem that would rather pay the private sector $1,900 a month to house them in squalor than give them perhaps a third of that amount for apartment rent and a chance to gain back their self-respect. There is much about this book that is not only infuriating but also uncomfort able; many of these people have previ ously been educated, productive citi zens who have endured several life crises and lost everything. The true heart of this book, however, rests on two pointsthe lack of affordable housing for the poor and, most tragical ly, the children who will become adults with little education, poor health, no marketable skills, and mental and emo tional scars from spending a childhood under these conditions. Kozol's writing is clear and reads easily due to his stark, unembellished style. It is always the people who shine through; they are a testament to the human spirit. It is impossible to read this book and remain untouched. Barbara Weathers, Du chesne Academy, Houston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449903391
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1988
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Kozol
Jonathan Kozol is the National Book Award–winning author of Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities, Amazing Grace, and The Shame of the Nation. He has been working with children in inner-city schools for more than 40 years.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2009

    Read A Book And Learn Something

    I read this book for a senior psychology project and was blown away. Jonathan Kozol writes from the heart and his story of the year he spent in the 1980s traveling through the hardest hit cities of America focusing on the homeless is heartwrenching. To all who think welfare recipients are "lazy, worthless, and good for nothing," just read this book. You will learn that many single mothers living in the notorious Martinique Hotel in New York (hotel shelter)want to move out to their own residences but exboritant housing costs even in the 1980s make this impossible. Instead, the city chooses to pay $1,900.00 per month to house a family of four in the Martinique, a horror hotel shelter, rather that put this money toward helping the family become self-sufficient and get off welfare. Jonathan Kozol has spent many years working within the inner city sector and understands these types of catch-22 situations and maddening red tape that federal aid recipients contend with. If you have a heart, you will enjoy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    A moving and informative book.

    As Jonathan Kozol travels around homeless hotels, such as the Martinique, he sees and hears people¿s heart wrenching situations. In this riveting book, not only is the reader confronted with the exact words of some desperate families, but also with staggering statistics about homelessness in New York and throughout the country. This book presents facts about how people become homeless, their situations and struggles, and the lack of government involvement in improving low-income housing. Kozol¿s personal accounts of being with these families and the incomprehensible state in which they are all living, stir the emotions and compassion of readers. Although this book presents astounding information and stories, Kozol neglects to mention any of the other reasons, besides lack of housing, that so many people end up in poverty and remain living under the poverty level. Rachel and Her Children combines emotion and knowledge into an informative book that could easily spring people into action to help the homeless. It adequately mixes raw facts and stories of life in poverty. Even with this book¿s few flaws, it is incredible, moving, and informative.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2006

    Government waste and the trap of poverty

    I read this book many years ago and it still affects my thinking about how the poor in America are treated as well as the wasteful way the government pretends to help them. Anyone that reads this should be protesting how the government spends their tax dollars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2002

    Outstanding, in the most horrific way!

    As a social work student, in none of my classes have I ever heard the truth in the very honest way Kozol writes and describes it. We have to do someting to make people concious of the realities of our system and that poverty is not a matter of luck (or bad luck), but is a product of the system we live in, stop trying to cover it up with patches of "charity" and start working towards REAL Public policy that will deal with the roots of the problem, not just the symptoms of it. READ IT! I hope you end up as outraged as I am and do something about it!

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    Posted May 15, 2010

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    Posted December 26, 2011

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