In its January newsletter, the American Library Association publication CHOICE, included a recent book by USM Professor of Social Work David Wagner in its “Outstanding Academic Books of 2013.” Wagner’s book, “Poverty, Politics, and the Failure of Social Policy,” written with aid from former USM social work student Jennifer Barton Gilman, analyses the increase of homelessness over the past 30 years and the public response to this problem. Gilman, now a social worker in Wilmington, N.C., received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from USM.
Among the criteria CHOICE uses when reviewing titles for inclusion are “Importance relative to other literature in the field; value to undergraduate students; and originality or uniqueness of treatment.” Wagner’s book has been described as offering a “major reconsideration of homelessness in the US, casting a critical eye on how we as a society respond to crises of inequality and stratification.”
Wagner, a resident of Portland, has centered his scholarship and activism on poverty, homelessness, social inequality and social welfare history and policy. He is the author of eight books, including the recently released “The Miracle Worker and the Transcendentalist: Anne Sullivan, Franklin Sanborn, and the Education of Helen Keller” and “Checkerboard Square: Culture and Resistance in a Homeless Community,” which received the C. Wright Mills Award.