Portraits of the poor

Surviving in a Material World. By Ronald Paul Hill. University of Notre Dame Press, 175 pp., $22.95.

Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass. By Theodore Dalrymple. Ivan R. Dee, 263 pp., $27.50.

Ronald Hill and Theo­dore Dalrymple both try to bring us into the world of the poor. Both strive to take armchair economists for an imaginary walk through the minds of the underclass, telling us in a series of provocative essays just how poor people think about their lives. Yet once we get out of our armchairs and go on their tours, we see that the authors are describing radically different worlds.


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