Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
edited by Neil J. Smelser, William Julius Wilson, and Faith Mitchell, 1022 pp, $49.95 per vol, ISBN 0-309-06495-3 (vol 1), ISBN 0-309-06839-8 (vol 2), Washington, DC: National Academy Press (http://www.nap.edu), 2001.
When President Clinton's 1997 Initiative on Race needed an authoritative assessment of the status of racial minorities in this country, those involved turned to the National Research Council (NRC) for help. The NRC in turn convened a two-day conference in 1998 cochaired by editors Neil J. Smelser of Stanford and William Julius Wilson of Harvard. The result is this two-volume collection of papers by the nation's leading scholars on race and ethnic relations.
Volume 1 covers trends in demographic changes, racial attitudes (including affirmative action), education, and neighborhoods. Volume 2 addresses the changing landscape of justice, labor, wealth, welfare, and health access and status. There is much to like about both volumes. The writing is accessible for the intelligent lay reader, and many chapters conclude with helpful summaries of lessons learned, policy recommendations, or research needs. Throughout the approximately 1000 pages, we find the latest research data on a multitude of topics, making the collection pure platinum for scholars. And whether by editorial intervention or authorial initiative, papers typically offer diverse racial perspectives rather than confining the discussion to blacks and whites.
MinoritiesAmerica Becoming: Racial Trends and Their Consequences, vols 1 & 2. JAMA. 2001;286(11):1385-1386. doi:10.1001/jama.286.11.1385-JBK0919-4-1