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April 9, 1997

Children in Jeopardy: Can We Break the Cycle of Poverty?

Author Affiliations

Boston City Hospital Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1997;277(14):1172-1173. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540380086044

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At a time of wholesale retrenchment of antipoverty policy, Irving Harris' Children in Jeopardy: Can We Break the Cycle of Poverty? comes as a bracing tonic for anyone concerned with the plight of America's disadvantaged children, which, as Harris argues, presages the future of the nation. Harris has devoted a lifetime of philanthropic effort to the creation of interventions to help prevent and ameliorate the profound effects of poverty on child development. His book is a narrative describing these efforts and the rationale that has motivated them; it is not a reference text, but neither is it a polemic. It is the story of a practical and humane citizen's efforts to engage conditions that he saw as "a festering, expanding disaster accompanying the waste of human life."

In describing the cycle of poverty, Harris mounts an argument that will be familiar to all physicians and other professionals who work with