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Book Reviews and Other Media
September 2001

The Widening Gap: Why America's Working Families Are in Jeopardy and What Can Be Done About It

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by Jody Heymann, MD, PhD, 254 pp, $28, ISBN 0465013082, New York, NY, Basic Books, 2000.


Copyright 2001 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2001

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(9):1075-1076. doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.9.1075

Each year a handful of magazines rate businesses and companies for their family-friendly policies. In her book The Widening Gap: Why America's Working Families Are in Jeopardy And What Can Be Done About It, Jody Heymann evaluates the entire country—and it does not fare well. In this thorough review of America's and Americans' approach to caregiving policy, Heymann identifies the widening gap as the space between "rhetoric and reality in the United States when it comes to policies affecting families." The author strives to steer clear of the rhetoric and focus on the reality in a quest to pose rational, viable solutions to close this widening gap. While she does an admirable job of detailing the scope of the problem, her proposed remedies come off as too pat. If a remedy were just that easy, one can't help but think, wouldn't we already have done it? But as Heymann herself shows us, this very complicated problem does not lend itself easily to any solutions.

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