War on Poverty: Nearly Won (and Lost)

Books | UNDERSTANDING AMERICA: Our book of the year focuses on the war for work
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 11/20/18, 11:31 am

Factoring in government welfare payments, very few Americans lack food, shelter, and clothing—but what about purpose and productivity?

The Once and Future Worker by Oren Cass (Encounter) helps us understand America by pointing out a fundamental problem: trillions of dollars poured into low-income households to guarantee consumption, but very little to help those adults become productive.

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Crises R Us

Books | HISTORY: Examining the Civil War, immigration, and other great divides
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 11/20/18, 11:27 am

Jay Sexton’s A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History (Basic) is our Book of the Year in History because it presents a challenging new perspective in 200 tightly written pages. Instead of telling a conventional story of America’s evolution, he offers the historian’s equivalent of a biologist’s “punctuated equilibrium”: long periods of little change punctuated by dramatic disasters that create surprising benefits.

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Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Beyond platform shoes

Books | WORLD’s 2018 Books of the Year
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 11/20/18, 11:23 am

Before becoming WORLD’s chief editor, I sat on the board of directors of a Christian publishing house. When the editorial team spoke of upcoming books, it emphasized the intellectual worth of the book for readers and (since every enterprise needs to make at least a small profit) the material worth to the company. The job of authors was to write good books and do media interviews to promote them, but the marketing department did most of the selling.

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