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Abstract

The Truly Disadvantaged is an important book which brings the subject of poverty back into the forefront of sociological discourse. William Wilson's intent is to redirect its study by simultaneously mounting challenges to the ideological orthodoxy of the left and of the complacency of the right. Throughout, he attempts to subtly reconstruct current debates and controversies and to mould them into a form more palatable to the skeptical, voting age masses. For those interested in public policy formation, there is value in both the underlying purpose of such an exercise and in much of its form. Though the work is not meant as definitive, it does manage in a few pages to address many topics which are important to our understanding of poverty in the midst of plenty. Discussions of the role of joblessness, the inadequacy of the welfare dependency thesis, and the problem of institutional failure in the schools are particularly insightful.

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