The Tragedy of American Compassion

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Overview

William J. Bennett once called it "the most important book on welfare and social policy in a decade. Period." It influenced the Clinton Administration's welfare reform and deeply affected then-Governor George W. Bush's policies in Texas. But with the war on terror, the ideas in The Tragedy of American Compassion have taken a backseat.

Because it is based on historical successes and ancient wisdom, however, Tragedy is as timeless as ever. Marvin Olasky's groundbreaking book turns...

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Overview

William J. Bennett once called it "the most important book on welfare and social policy in a decade. Period." It influenced the Clinton Administration's welfare reform and deeply affected then-Governor George W. Bush's policies in Texas. But with the war on terror, the ideas in The Tragedy of American Compassion have taken a backseat.

Because it is based on historical successes and ancient wisdom, however, Tragedy is as timeless as ever. Marvin Olasky's groundbreaking book turns on its head both conventional history and rhetoric, showing that America's volunteer poverty-fighters were often more effective than our recent professionalized corps. His research also reveals that the real problem of modern welfare is not its cost but its stinginess in offering the true necessities: challenging, personal, and spiritual aid rather than entitlement and bureaucracy. So this book is now being reissued with new frontmatter to prepare a new generation of Americans to offer help that actually helps and to effectively confront once again the establishment that still impoverishes the impoverished. Foreword by Amy Sherman.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is a richly documented, controversial history of the welfare state as seen from a conservative political perspective. The system is generous with money but stingy on human involvement, argues Olasky, a University of Texas journalism professor: compassion means tough love in which those who give must demand self-help from those who receive. But Olasky adds a proviso that the giver too must be personally involved. He holds up the example of 19th-century charity workers, whose religious beliefs made them compassionate and willing to deal intimately with the poor, rather than dispensing money to them through government agencies. There's plenty of social history here--from Horace Greeley, soup kitchens and orphan asylums to today's homeless impasse. Olasky does not blame the system for poverty. He faults the poor, along with social workers back to Jane Addams and the founders of the settlement house movement. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433501104
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication date: 3/31/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 693,568
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Marvin Olasky (PhD, American Culture, University of Michigan) is the editor-in-chief of World Magazine. He has been interviewed numerous times by the national media as the developer of the concepts of compassionate conservatism and biblically objective journalism and is the author of twenty books.

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Table of Contents

Foreword   Amy L. Sherman     vii
Preface     xiii
Acknowledgments     xvii
Introduction: The Current Impasse     3
The Early American Model of Compassion     6
Turning Cities into Countryside     24
First Challenge to the Charity     42
The Social Darwinist Threat     60
Proving Social Darwinism Wrong     80
The Seven Marks of Compassion     99
And Why Not Do More?     116
Excitement of a New Century     134
Selling New Deals, Old Wineskins     151
Revolution-and Its Heartbreak     167
Questions of the 1970s and the 1980s     184
Putting Compassion into Practice     200
Applying History     217
Endnotes     235
Index     291

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Outstanding book and should be a must read for anyone who studie

    Outstanding book and should be a must read for anyone who studies trends in American society.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2004

    You've been beating your head against the issue? That explains it.

    This book does a fantastic job of presenting its insight and defending it. For that I rate it highly. However, it totally ignores the likelihood of a structural side of poverty and that is a large omission. The only way you wouldn't see that about this book is if you happen to have been 'beating your head against the issue' for so long that you are now brain-dead.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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