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Worlds Apart: Why Poverty Persists in Rural America by Cynthia M. Duncan

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Duncan - known to friends by her middle name, Mil - has written a truly significant book here. She compares a central Appalachian community with one in the Mississippi Delta and other in rural Maine. What I got out of it - and my experience may be stretching her conclusions a little -  is that poverty persists because of lack of opportunity. Opportunities are too often purposely limited by people in the power structure of communities who want their own friends, neighbors and children to succeed even at the expense of more worthy kids from "the wrong side of the tracks."  In Maine there was a greater desire for everyone to succeed, and in Mississippi, in the Black community there was solidarity in terms of their own people, but not so much in the white community. The community she studied in Appalachia experienced the greatest gap between those who were offered opportunities and those who were not.


New Haven: Yale University, 1999. Trade paperback