A People's History of Poverty in America by Stephen Pimpare
(New Press People's History)

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Synopsis

In this compulsively readable social history, political scientist Stephen Pimpare vividly describes poverty from the perspective of poor and welfare-reliant Americans from the big city to the rural countryside. He focuses on how the poor have created community, secured shelter, and found food and illuminates their battles for dignity and respect.

Through prodigious archival research and lucid analysis, Pimpare details the ways in which charity and aid for the poor have been inseparable, more often than not, from the scorn and disapproval of those who would help them. In the rich and often surprising historical testimonies he has collected from the poor in America, Pimpare overturns any simple conclusions about how the poor see themselves or what it feels like to be poor—and he shows clearly that the poor are all too often aware that charity comes with a price. It is that price that Pimpare eloquently questions in this book, reminding us through powerful anecdotes, some heart-wrenching and some surprisingly humorous, that poverty is not simply a moral failure.
 

About Stephen Pimpare

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Stephen Pimpareis the author ofThe New Victorians: Poverty, Politics, and Propaganda in Two Gilded Ages(The New Press). He teaches at NYU's Silver School of Social Work, and lives in New York.
 
Published June 7, 2011 by The New Press. 338 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A People's History of Poverty in America

Kirkus Reviews

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A useful counter against those who blame the poor for their bad luck.

Nov 01 2008 | Read Full Review of A People's History of Poverty...

Kirkus Reviews

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most of the chronically poor are disabled and cannot work, or are under or over working age, so that, as Pimpare wryly puts it, “most poor people are ‘deserving’…due to old age, youth, or infirmity.” Those who do work are at the mercy of economic shifts, but then so is everyone.

Nov 01 2008 | Read Full Review of A People's History of Poverty...

Socialist Review

More than 2.5 million Americans lost their jobs last year, spreading fear of a return to the "hungry thirties" across the working class.

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Project MUSE

Following the social control interpretation that American welfare states have often been intended to regulate the labor market, Pimpare argues persuasively that slavery and its successor institutions did just that: regulated antebellum Southern labor, white and black, while also providing welfare...

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