A different shade of gray

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A different shade of gray

Solidly researched, it utilizes quantitative and qualitative sources: Much of the information is well known: Unexpected findings add to the picture. This cohort, largely from their 50s to 80s, had more opportunities than their parents. Many obtained "city government jobs" during growth periods and were able to raise their living standards.

They could not, however, necessarily pass on these opportunities to their children, keep them away from crime and drugs, or afford to move away from dangerous neighborhoods.

A different shade of gray

Newman urban studies, Harvard concludes with policy recommendations, especially improving Social Security benefits for poor women by crediting care years and increasing survivor benefits.

Although the text is occasionally redundant, it is well written; readers see real people struggle.

Rely on the Classics

For collections in aging and social policy, all levels. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review In this intelligent study, Newman, a Harvard urban studies professor and the author of No Shame in My Game, contends that aging, for a large population of minorities and working poor in inner city neighborhoods, is an experience fraught with insecurity, inadequate health care, penury and hard work.

Her book is strongest when it employs individual experiences to explore larger themes, such as how the gradual deterioration of some city neighborhoods has affected a generation of middle class African-American women and their children. Newman does not shy away from touchy subjects, and devotes an entire chapter to exploring perceived resentments among different minority groups.

Rather than focus on an "experience of discrimination and hostility "in her discussion of anti-Semitism in the African-American community, Newman explores how African Americans view other immigrant groups' rise to success against their own history of achievement.

No discussion of race, class and the comparative advantages of different ethnic groups will yield easy answers, but Newman does an admirable job of fleshing out the various big-picture issues, ultimately calling for more awareness on the part of policy makers about the plight of the aging poor.

Her thoughtful volume is all the proof necessary. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review Popular magazines abound with references to the beneficent lives of Americans in their older years.

In this excellent work, Newman, an urban anthropologist at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, contrasts this generalization with the realities of middle-aged and elderly African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominican immigrants in New York City.

Her basic sources include the MacArthur Foundation survey of mid-life development in the United States, a companion study of aging ethnic and racial minorities in New York City, and in-depth personal interviews with a sample of those minority elders. The oral histories of their life-forming young-adult years reveal consistent frustrations with in an environment of deteriorating neighborhoods, vanishing economic opportunities, devastating invasions of crack cocaine, broken families headed by females, minimal community support systems, and outmoded public assistance policies.

Newman's research reveals that elderly Americans in New York City's inner enclaves are generally poor and stressed, too often overwhelmed by financial and personal worries and obligations-an unfortunate, though potentially correctable, aberration to what luckier elders in America accept as a relatively sanguine time of life.

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A Different Shade of Gray has 20 ratings and 1 review. Em said: really powerful nonfiction book about aging minorities in urban america.

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