Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America

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9780761925842: Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America

The Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America is a unique reference book that provides readers with basic information about the history of social welfare in North America, including Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Since many themes and issues are similar in the three nations, entries provide comparative information about common as well as distinctive concerns and developments. Significant events, influential people, legislation, social problems, and societal responses are described in detail. Editors include specialists in the social welfare history of each nation, and they have collaborated with scholars from a variety of academic disciplines to prepare entries of varying length addressing these issues. Included in each entry are suggestions for further reading that will guide readers to the rich resources available for learning about the history of North American social welfare. The Encyclopedia also provides cross-references for important topics.

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About the Author:

Paul H. Stuart earned an MSW at the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.A. in History and a Ph.D. in History and Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has worked as a social worker in public welfare, recreation services, health care, and community mental health. He has served as a clinical social worker in the Indian Health Service, U.S. Public Health Service, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Stuart had over 30 years of teaching experience in South Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Alabama, before joining the FIU faculty in 2007. His research has focused on the history of Indian-white relations in the United States, the history of social welfare, and the history of the social work profession. He is the author of several books, including The Indian Office: Growth and Development of an American Institution, 1865-1900 (UMI Research Press, 1979) and Nations within A Nation: Historical Statistics of American Indians (Greenwood Press, 1987), in addition to numerous articles and chapters in books. He co-edited the Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America (Sage, 2005), with John M. Herrick of Michigan State University. He has been active as a reviewer and editorial board member for scholarly journals and is currently Archives Editor for the Journal of Community Practice.

From Booklist:

Here is a reference work that provides readers with information about the history of social welfare in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. According to the preface, the purpose of the encyclopedia is to give users basic information about how these three nations have dealt with social welfare issues, some shared and some unique, and "to describe important events, developments, and the lives and work of some key contributors." Social welfare is defined broadly to include areas of education, informal mutual assistance, development of the profession of social work, and both voluntary charitable activities and -government--supported public welfare. Editors Herrick and Stuart are social work professors at Michigan State University and the University of Alabama, respectively; they are joined by more than 160 contributors.

The 180 entries generally vary in length from one to just over four pages and include suggestions for further reading and, in some cases, collections of primary materials and "Current Comment," which consists of lists of documents produced during the time described in the entry. Appendixes at the end of the book include a good chronology of social welfare events in each country, followed by a master bibliography and a well-constructed index with cross-references.

This encyclopedia has information in common with another recently published work, ABC-CLIO's Poverty in the United States: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics and Policy (2004). There is also some overlap with another Sage publication, The Handbook of Social Welfare Management (2000). One unique strength of the title under review is its multinational perspective. Many topics, among them Food assistance policy, Philanthropy , and Social Security, are treated in separate entries for each country, making it easy to both focus on a particular country's social welfare history and draw comparisons. The "Reader's Guide" is also helpful in identifying entries associated with a specific nation, since it groups entries under Canada, Mexico, and United States, among other categories.

Although the quality of this encyclopedia is generally quite good, the issue for libraries is whether they can continue to justify the purchase of very specialized print encyclopedias. Recommended for those academic and public library collections where there is a specific need for basic information related to the history of social welfare in North America. Diana Shonrock
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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