In this penetrating book, the authors provide a systematic empirical analysis of an important public policy issue—citizen participation in the Community Action Program of the Johnson administration's "War on Poverty." This Phoenix edition includes a new introduction in which the authors explicate the most important themes in their analysis.
In a series of lively chapters, Greenstone and Peterson show how the coalitions that formed around the community action question developed not out of electoral or organizational interests alone but were strongly influenced by prevailing conceptions of the nature of authority in America. The book stresses the way in which both machine and reform structures affected the ability of minority groups to organize effectively and to form alliances in urban politics. It considers the wide-ranging critiques made of the Community Action Program by conservative, liberal, and radical analysts and finds that all of them fail to appreciate the significance and intensity of the racial cleavage in American politics.