This is an important book which has already had a major impact on discussions of poverty, race and public policy in the United States. Wilson is to be commended for his willingness to step boldly into the arena of public discourse in an effort to blaze a new trail between the "rock" of conservative thinking on the underclass and the "hard place" of contemporary liberal perspectives. His project-the refocusing of the liberal perspective and the definition of a bold new public policy agenda is inherently controversial. Wilson is quite correct in his assertion that the conservative perspective captured public attention and policy initiatives in the Reagan era, and that that agenda has resulted in a real deterioration in the living conditions of the urban poor.