Cover image for Worlds apart : why poverty persists in rural America
Worlds apart : why poverty persists in rural America
Duncan, Cynthia M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvii, 235 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HC110.P6 D86 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This work takes us to three remote rural areas in the USA to hear the tales of the residents - the poor, the rich, and those in between - as they talk about their families, work, hard times, and their hopes. It provides an insight into the dynamics of poverty, politics and community change.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The descriptions of rural poverty in Worlds Apart are interesting and read almost like a novel. Sociologist Duncan (Univ. of New Hampshire) compiles accounts of residents who describe their lives in three rural areas: a coal-mining town in Appalachia, a cotton-plantation town in the Mississippi Delta, and a mill town in northern Maine. In Appalachia and Mississippi the social order is almost feudal--there are the "haves," who control the economic, political, and social life in the area; and the large underclass of the "have-nots," who are dependent on the good will of the haves for their meager livelihood. The few in the middle class generally try to align themselves with the "ruling" haves. Duncan finds that the social milieu in northern Maine is almost idyllic by comparison, with a large blue-collar middle class, and a history of cooperation and involvement by all classes in civic affairs. Duncan presents a short sociological analysis of the communities in the three areas. She concludes that education--according to nationwide, not just (often low) local standards-- is the best, if not the only way, to break the cycle of rural poverty. This well-bound work contains 11 pages of tables and graphs. All levels. E. P. Hoffman; Western Michigan University