Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen [NOOK Book]


David Hilfiker has committed his life, both as a writer and a doctor, to people in need, writing about the urban poor with whom he’s spent all his days for the last two decades. In Urban Injustice, he explains in beautiful and simple language how the myth that the urban poor siphon off precious government resources is contradicted by the facts, and how most programs help some of the people some of the time but are almost never sufficiently orchestrated to enable people to escape...
See more details below
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price
(Save 34%)$15.95 List Price


David Hilfiker has committed his life, both as a writer and a doctor, to people in need, writing about the urban poor with whom he’s spent all his days for the last two decades. In Urban Injustice, he explains in beautiful and simple language how the myth that the urban poor siphon off precious government resources is contradicted by the facts, and how most programs help some of the people some of the time but are almost never sufficiently orchestrated to enable people to escape the cycle of urban poverty.
Hilfiker is able to present a surprising history of poverty programs since the New Deal, and shows that many of the biggest programs were extremely successful at attaining the goals set out for them. Even so, Hilfiker reveals, most of the best and biggest programs were "social insurance" programs, like Medicare and Social Security, that primarily assisted the middle class, not the poor. Whereas, "public assistance" programs, directed specifically towards the poor, were often extremely effective as far as they went, but were instituted with far less ambitious goals.
In a book that is short, sweet, and completely without academic verboseness or pretension, Hilfiker makes a clear path through the complex history of societal poverty, the obvious weaknesses and surprising strengths of societal responses to poverty thus far, and offers an analysis of models of assistance from around the world that might perhaps assist us in making a better world for our children once we decide that is what we must do.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hilfiker, a white doctor who has worked with homeless and HIV-positive men in Washington, D.C., for nearly 20 years, begins by noting, "[W]hen most Americans think about poverty, or see the poor on television, or read about them in the newspapers, the images are of poor black men hanging around the street corner, poor black teenagers selling drugs, poor black single mothers living on welfare, poor black inner-city schools failing their children." Yet only 12% of the nation's poor are African-American, according to his extrapolation from the 2000 census. In a calm, thoughtful yet impassioned voice, Hilfiker sets out to explain why this state of affairs persists, tracing the failure of programs to alleviate poverty, from Reconstruction through the New Deal to the contemporary battles over welfare. He is even brave enough to suggest solutions for the end of poverty and ghettos, to "remove this stain upon our American democracy." This accessible, clearly written book includes an excellent annotated bibliography and may inspire ordinary people to work toward full desegregation of our society. (Sept. 25) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Hilfiker is a compassionate white doctor who has spent more than two decades living with the poor and practicing "poverty medicine" in Washington, DC. He began doctoring with the premise that with sufficient "strengthening" he could turn his patients' lives around. This book represents his exploration of that failed premise and his answer to why African American poverty is intransigent and structural. He includes an especially good chapter on welfare history, including the 1960s "skirmish" on poverty. The last chapter suggests very practical public policies and budgets that could win a real war on poverty if the United States would surmount the political problems inherent in it. Hilfiker's two previous books, the prize-winning Healing the Wounds and Not All of Us Are Saints, are reflections on a doctor's work and patients. Clear and authoritative without being academic, this title is good reading for those who don't want to wade into texts by William Julius Wilson or Michael B. Katz, leading scholars of similar proclivity. Recommended for public libraries and for high school and college students. Janice Dunham, John Jay Coll. Lib., CUNY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609800345
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press
  • Publication date: 1/4/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 235 KB

Meet the Author

Physician and writer DAVID HILFIKER, M.D. has committed his life to social justice in the practice of his two professions. In 1983, after seven years as a rural physician in north-eastern Minnesota, he moved to Washington, D.C., to practice medicine in the center of the city at Christ House, a medical recovery shelter for homeless men, where he and his family also lived. In 1990, he cofounded Joseph’s House, a community and hospice for formerly homeless men dying with AIDS. He lived there for three years, and continues to work there today.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Building the Ghetto: A History 1
2 Pillaging the Ghetto: Other Causes of Poverty 17
3 The Usual Suspects 45
4 Welfare in Modern America 63
5 Welfare Elsewhere 107
6 Ending Poverty as We Know It 117
Acknowledgments 129
Annotated Bibliography 133
Notes 147
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2003

    concise intro to a complicaated problem

    It is written by a doctor who has been working with innner city patients for over two decades. He understands their medical and psychosocial issues very well but he was puzzled by many things. Including, how is it that there is such sharp geographical clustering of poverty, how is this cycle perpetuated from one generation to the next, how does 'govt. assistance' work and how is it designed? He tried to find the answers by surveying the sociological, economic, and public policy literature. He describes his book as the type of resource he wished he had access to in medical school. The book itself is only about 130 pages (not including endnotes which were quite interesting). Anyway, I found it to be very interesting and it is totally readable in one sitting so busy people might like it. Because my understanding of what he was trying to explain is very unsophisitcated, I couldn't read the book with a critical eye (except one type where I'm quite sure he meant 'integration' instead of 'segregation' but that was just one word.) I do warn you that it isn't a cozy book (although it wasn't a screamin' shockin', bleedin' liberal tryst either, thank goodness). Just so you're prepared.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)