Tell Them Who I Am: The Lives of Homeless Women

Overview

"One of the very best things ever written about homeless people in the nation."—Jonathan Kozol.

In 1984, Liebow left his position as director of anthropological research at the National Institute of Mental Health to undergo treatment for cancer. He also volunteered to work at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters, where he conducted the research for this book. Here the author of Tally's Corner investigates and documents the patterns and routines of homeless ...

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Overview

"One of the very best things ever written about homeless people in the nation."—Jonathan Kozol.

In 1984, Liebow left his position as director of anthropological research at the National Institute of Mental Health to undergo treatment for cancer. He also volunteered to work at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters, where he conducted the research for this book. Here the author of Tally's Corner investigates and documents the patterns and routines of homeless women.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - BookSmack!
This puts faces, stories, and histories to an otherwise anonymous group of homeless shelter residents. Part man, part anthropologist ("He's the Manthropologist!"), Liebow introduces subjects who range from very bright to rather dull and whose often profoundly sad histories are rife with all kinds of substance addictions and abuse. Notable is that the concept of family (biological, marital, chosen) is huge to these women and that they are incredibly loyal to one another. Perhaps this is because they function as the only source for giving and receiving human dignity. It's a provocative, sobering series of observations that served to let me know how friggin' lucky I am and how strong these women are. ." Douglas Lord, "Books for Dudes," Booksmack! 10/7/10
WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women
In 1984 Ellet Liebow, an urban anthroplogist and author of Tally's Corner, an earlier work on Black streetcorner life, left his job at the National Institute of Mental Health and began volunteering at The Refuge, an emergency shelter for homeless women. Elliot became increasingly drawn to these women, spending more and more time in it and other shelters, making notes and getting to know the inhabitants. This book is is the result. Unveiling the problems inherent in the current system of providing for the homeless is only part of the dynamic at work here. Tell Them Who I Am gives real voice to these women and theie stories. They are clearly human beings, and Elliot does nothing to strip them of their dignity or humanity. If any criticism could be made I suppose it might to suggest that Elliot is too close to his subjects. Perhaps this is an apt counter to most of the distancing, impartial-observer accounts of the homeless common to social science texts. There is no feelings of these women as bugs under a microscope. We see their world, as we should, through their eyes.
—Ilene Rosoff
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140241372
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 211,816
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 7.95 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface: A Soft Beginning
Introduction: The Women, the Shelters, and the Round of Life

PART ONE: Problems in Living
1. Day by Day
2. Work and Jobs
3. Family
4. The Servers and the Served

PART TWO: Making It: Body and Soul
5. My Friends, My God, Myself
6. Making It Together
7. Some Thoughts on Homelessness

Appendixes
A. Where Are They Now?
B. Life Histories
C. How Many Homeless People?
D. Social Service Programs
E. Research Methods and Writing

Bibliography
Index of Names

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2010

    Interesting read! Glad I made the purchase.

    I like non fiction books about subjects that interest me. Stories about homeless interest me and have for years and I have been working at a homeless center for a year now and the stories or incidents in this book really give me a lot to think about. I read this book in about three days, I would have tried to finish it sooner if I had the time.

    The life stories of the women featured are certainly interesting but two occurances that really stick out are one's that may be overlooked because they don't feature prominently with the regular women however they have stuck with me since the day I read them. the first is when a woman named Irma (only featured once in this small story) was could not get into the shelter and she slept in her car during a snow storm night and when she woke up the snow was plowed over her car. The next story was about a woman who was attacked during the night when she was exited from the shelter. These two stories stay with me because a primary reason for shelters being run is for protection from the elements and to homeless with no place to go and sometimes with no protection the elements are not only cold, snow but maybe attacks. I would hope these type of stories from the book that show the downside of shelter operations will show readers the right decisions to make in offering protection from all elements.

    The women featured in the book are very interesting and their stories remain with my thoughts. About a month has passed since I purchased the book and I still go back to read it and look and go over the stories I remember and also scan the book to see if there's anything I missed the first time.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

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