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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Audrey K. Gordon, PhD (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Description: This book focuses attention on four important areas in the field of self-help: public policy; explanatory frameworks; participation in self-help of diverse populations; and an accumulation of important findings about self-help. Its intent is to offer original insights on self-help.
Purpose: The purpose is to stimulate further identification of areas in which knowledge needs to be developed in the field of self-help. The reader is encouraged by the editor "to read deeply and critically" keeping in mind the possibility of contributing to the next stage of maturity in the self-help field. The book covers new ground in self-help that has not been addressed in a systematic fashion before; however, the four areas identified in the description seem more of a structural imposition on the articles written by the various authors than a well-planned heuristic framework. This probably says as much about the organization and maturity of the discipline as it does about the book, a developmental issue the editor readily acknowledges.
Audience: This target audience for the book is professionals in the field of self-help involved in research or policy-making.
Features: About half the articles have tables and graphs varying in degrees of clarity and usefulness. One of the most helpful features of the book is the extensive and current references cited after each article. The presentation of the book is straightforward with an uncluttered typeface and chapter organization.
Assessment: This book offers useful insights into the current state of research and conceptual models in the field of self-help. There are few books available with this specific focus. The reader may be surprised at the diversity of self-help groups and how the paradigms for self-help differ within the field. The book is suitable for academic libraries and self-help professionals, but is not oriented to the consumer of self-help services or the lay public.