A compassionate survey of the causes of poverty and the forms it takes in contemporary society, by the author of such notable books on social issues as Never to Forget (the Holocaust) and Ain't Gonna Study War No More. Meltzer researches scrupulously (bibliography included) and writes with a directness and grace that make his books easily accessible to young readers as well as valuable references for all ages. He uses statistics to give authority and drama to facts about the poor, numerous even in our affluent society. Beginning with a description of their lifestyles and deprivations, he goes on to explain the US government's definition of poverty and the effect of that definition. Chapters are given to hunger, urban derelicts ("These are real people, huddled in doorways. . ."), technologically unemployed (". . .the talent that is wasted, the skills that wither. . .the hope that dies"), children, women and minorities, all disproportionately represented among the poor, elderly (". . .the guilt of sons and daughters who have to abandon their parents because. . .they can hardly feed their own children"), farmers ("It's a funny world. . .where farmers go broke while people go hungry"). Finally, there's a brief history of attempts to deal with poverty, from the poor farm to present social legislation, and a discussion of measures which might better conditions. Seeing poverty as an injustice inflicted on various groups by malfunctioning of the economic and social order rather than as a result of ". . .heredity, IQ, shiftlessness, [or] immorality," Meltzer has written a compelling brief advocating constructive change.