Books by Joan J. Johnson

Released: Oct. 1, 1992

In a depressingly well-documented digest of popular press coverage, a solid, nonsensationalized analysis. Quoting liberally from newspapers, magazines, and journalistic books, Johnson explains why teenagers land on the street, how they are recruited by pimps, how they handle their ``customers,'' and why it's so difficult for them to escape; she also debunks unhelpful stereotypes, notably the ``black pimp in flashy clothes,'' and is particularly effective in describing how fantasy dominates the interaction between prostitute and customer—which helps explain the rapid spread of AIDS, since ``AIDS isn't part of fantasies.'' Her only solutions are expensive—more social workers, better foster homes, a crackdown on child pornography (currently slighted in favor of the ``war on drugs'')—but without them, she warns, society will pay even more for an expanding criminal class, hardened and alienated. An excellent starting point for research papers. Notes; bibliography. Index not seen. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

Emotional writing and an excess of poorly integrated quotes from popular news sources do little to provide an adequate introduction to a complex social problem. Johnson discusses the lack of affordable housing, welfare hotels, temporary shelters, and government projects, presenting health and education implications for homeless children as well as short- and long-term, public and private solutions. The book averages more than one footnote per page, requiring constant flipping to source notes in the back, but many of the quotes are of little use in elucidating the problem: ``Yet while Westchester children are among the wealthiest children in the nation, Westchester has more homeless persons per capita than any other place in the nation.'' Johnson also misleads by oversimplifying: ``...when the demand for something increases, its supply decreases...The demand for rental apartments has increased, decreasing the supply.'' Overgeneralizations abound: ``Poverticians undermine every effort made by honest government officials to help the homeless.'' While the topic is important and urgent, this is of marginal value. Muddy b&w photos; bibliography; index. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >