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Mr. Young, executive director of the Urban League, has updated his 1964 ""domestic Marshall Plan"" and his overview of the American scene. Riots have their positive, cathartic side, but he advocates substantive changes; financing community control, raising minimum wages, new jobs in construction and child care, moderate tax reforms. The chapters are prefaced by Kerner Report excerpts; Young talks a lot about white racism. Sometimes he claims that all white groups have attained middle-class prosperity and echoes the liberal white call for ""white America"" to ""give up some of its power and prestige and money""; elsewhere he notes that millions of whites are poor or almost and claims that his programs would help them too. Inconsistencies aside, the presentation of statistics and empirical trends is often impressive. (But what historical distortion--""strong backs were no longer needed"" in post-Civil War cities; when the Irish ""quietly took over"" Boston politics, ""their poverty and oppression vanished."") Regarding his central concern, Young calls for an ""Open Society"" where individuals can decide whether or not to integrate. White Americans who ""want to help"" are persuaded disarmingly, not harangued as in Floyd McKissick's Three Fifths of a Man (1969, 219). He gives franker support to sophisticated corporate elites and sees ""black capitalism"" as a marginal option. On the level of tactics and style, Young's book speaks eloquently for his wing of the reformist leadership. Though he may reach a less heterogeneous group of readers, he is furthering their common aim of shaping white opinion.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1969
Publisher: McGraw-Hill