IPT Book Reviews

Title: America's Shame: Women and Children in Shelter and the Degradation of Family Roles  Positive Review
Author: Barbara A. Arrighi
Publisher: Praeger Publishers, 1997

Praeger Publishers
88 Post Road
Westport, CT 06881
(800) 225-5800
$45.00 (c)

Poverty is a grim reality that involves our entire society. History does not offer solutions to the stratification of any social group along lines that may create inequity of some sort. Shelter is the main focus of this 138-page book's attempt to deal with poverty's real world. Homelessness and poor people, mostly women and their children, often find that the only place for them to be is a shelter for homeless people. The book attempts to let the reader know what this may be like through reporting discussion sessions with the homeless.

The explanation given for homelessness is a social structural economic change that impoverishes more and more people. For those on the lower end of the society, making any upward progress becomes more difficult because of the continuing changes in the economy. Two solutions are suggested. The first is consciousness raising for the homeless. Although the homeless are apparently not aware of it, they must come to understand that it is racism and sexism that keeps them down, and their knowledge of "street smarts" is as valuable as formal education.

The second solution is government intervention to redistribute wealth and services so that the poor do not live in poverty. Several suggestions are made for specific steps that could be taken to accomplish that goal. Some are less intrusive than others, but all represent imposition of governmental policies on the populace. For those who want to learn more about homelessness and what it is like and what may be done about it, the book provides useful information.

Reviewed by Ralph Underwager, Institute for Psychological Therapies.

Order this book: Hardcover

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