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February 26, 1995|CHARLES SOLOMON

AMERICA'S NEW WAR ON POVERTY: A Reader for Action edited by Robert Lavelle and the Staff of Blackside (KQED Books: $12.95; 250 pp., illustrated, paperback original). In this companion volume to the PBS series, the authors chronicle the pernicious effects of poverty, especially on children. The statistics are alarming: In 1993, one in seven American children was on AFDC; American children are twice as likely to be poor as Canadian children and seven to 13 times more likely to be poor than German, Dutch or Swedish children. Although the authors profile 42 private and governmental anti-poverty programs, the reader longs for the commitment of the Kennedys and Lyndon B. Johnson to eliminating the underclass in America--at a time when Congress has decided to end War on Poverty by declaring poverty the winner.

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