SEVEN BOOKS TO BE REPUBLISHED BY GOTHAM BOOKS:
PROGRESSIVES IN AMERICA 1900-2020-THE POORHOUSE: AMERICA’S FORGOTTEN INSTITUTION-UNLIKELY FAME: POOR PEOPLE WHO MADE HISTORY-CHECKERBOARD SQUARE: CULTURE AND RESISTANCE IN A HOMELESS COMMUNITY-NO LONGER HOMELESS-THE NEW TEMPERANCE: THE AMERICAN OBSESSION WITH SIN AND VICE-ORDINARY PEOPLE: IN AND OUT OF POVERTY IN THE GILDED AGE includes winner of C.Wright Mills award (Checkerboard Square), winner of Northeast Popular Culture Award (The New Temperance).
$3.99 E-BOOK, $12.95-14.95 PAPER AVAILABLE AT MAJOR BOOK SELLERS
“David Wagner’s extraordinary journey through ‘the poorhouse’ in the United States is meticulously researched and brings alive, in eminently readable prose, the lives of those human beings who were both victims and overseers of this much-neglected part of American life. This is an important contribution to our social history.” Howard Zinn, historian, social activist, author of A People’s History of the United States
“An eye-opener! Wagner carefully and judiciously combs through the data to give us a vivid picture of nineteenth-century institutions…There is nothing quite like this [book] and American social welfare history will never be the same.”
Frances Fox Piven, City University of New York
“Wagner’s informative book is required reading.”
New England Quarterly
“This impressively researched history of the poorhouse, a mainstay social welfare resource for 300 years in America, will fascinate and enlighten even a casual reader.”
Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work
Winner of C. Wright Mills award 1994
“Checkerboard Square is a well-written, often dramatic book which combines first-rate sociological analysis with sensitive story telling. Not only does it deserve to be read by researchers, undergraduates, and the general reader but it should be required reading for all those working to rebuild the welfare state and to create a new America.”
“A moving and important testament to the human spirit. A must read for organizers and advocates everywhere.”
Robert Hayes, founder, National Coalition for the Homeless
“One of the more original and refreshing books on the homeless, It challenges stereotypic conceptions of the homeless and misguided policy approaches to dealing with the problem.”
David Snow, University of Arizona
Winner of the Northeast Popular Culture Award, 1998
“This is an important and insightful book…thoughtful, documented with erudition, and provides the reader with a valuable entry into American cultural conflict.”
“In the New Temperance, David Wagner gives us a sweeping attempt to put the 1960s and everything after, in perspective…although this is a sizable task for a single book, Wagner is successful in most respects…”
Deviant Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Journal
“An absolutely unique contribution to our understanding of the resurgence of temperance in American political and cultural life. This is a must-read!”
“It’s a self-help book…but it’s aimed at helping Americans get over the idea that homelessness is mainly the result of personal failings..[the author’s} purpose in writing the book was to use personal stories of formerly homeless people to both show that most people on the streets eventually go on to have functional lives and what makes the difference is financial and other supports to stop being homeless and stay housed.”
“For some years now, David Wagner has styled himself as something of a Studs Terkel among the homeless poor, collecting stories, reminiscences, and hopes. He has also taught, befriended, and organized with them. In this latest dispatch, he explores how the ‘ex-homeless’ account for exits from the street and shelter. A worthy read.”
Kim Hopper, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia Uniuversity
“Homelessness does not define a person- it is a tragic condition that too many Americans have suffered far too long. David Wagner expertly captures the essential humanity of men and women who have been homeless. It is a story of hope and promise.”
Robert Hayes, founder, Coalition of the Homeless
“Has it gotten harder for Americans from poor backgrounds to become famous?…David Wagner suggests fewer famous people come from poverty today than did in the past.”
“David Wagner is a foremost scholar on issues of poverty, homelessness, and social welfare policy.”
“Informed and informative, Unlikely Fame is a fascinating and informative read from beginning to end. It is a unique and seminal work that is truly extraordinary and highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school, community and academic library…collections.”
Ordinary People: In and Out of Poverty in the Gilded Age
David Wagner explores the lives of poor people during the three decades after the Civil War, using a unique treasure of biographies of people who were (at one point in time) inmates in a large almshouse, combined with genealogical and other official records to follow their later lives. Ordinary People develops a more fluid picture of “poverty” as people’s lives change over the course of time.
“The poor are absent from our history books. David Wagner presents them to us in vivid Dickensian portraits as human beings to whom attention must be paid. He is writing about the poor in the late nineteenth century, but inevitably we are reminded of the invisible poor in our midst today. An important contribution to the social history of our country.”
“David Wagner has written a wonderful book. By focusing close on particular lives, he gives us a uniquely intimate and specific insight into the lives of these poor and marginal people of the late nineteenth century. And he also shows us that they were more than just victims, but people who asserted themselves and often managed to build their own lives.
―Frances Fox Piven, author of Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America
“This well-written and researched book follows in the tradition of C. Wright Mills … Ordinary People is based on meticulous archival research conducted at the Massachusetts State Almshouse at Tewksbury.”
―Journal of Poverty
“ … Ordinary People is an important contribution to the history of social welfare, particularly in its focus on the day-to-day stories of people who passed through the doors of Tewksbury. One could easily see this book supplementing a social welfare history class or being used in a research course as a skilled example of historiography and mixed-methods research.”
―Social Service Review
“Ordinary People is a remarkable examination of poverty from 1865 to 1895 during the Gilded Age … Wagner skillfully places his research within the context of changes in American social welfare. [He] gives us tantalizing insights into the lives of ‘ordinary’ people who needed community support in a time of rapid social change. His innovative research enriches understanding of how we have considered poverty and have chosen to deal with it.”
―Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
OTHER BOOKS BY DAVID WAGNER
Poverty and Welfare in America: Examining the Facts, ABC-CLIO 2019.
What’s Love got to do with it? A Critical Look at American Charity. The New Press, 2000.
The Miracle Worker and the Transcendentalist: Anne Sullivan, Franklin Sanborn, and the Education of Helen Keller, Routledge, 2012.
Confronting Homelessness: Poverty, Politics, and the Failure of Social Welfare. Lynn Rienner, 2012.
The Quest for a Radical Profession: Social Service Careers and Political Ideology. Rowman-Littlefield, 1990.