Much time and effort have been devoted over the years by governments, private charities, and individuals trying to eradicate poverty or mitigate its effects. This historical encyclopedia chronicles these attempts in the U.S. from English colonization to the present time. Policy initiatives, legislation, important individuals, and organizations are discussed in 170 alphabetically arranged entries, ranging from the specific (Great Depression, Social Security Act) to the general (Criminal justice system and poverty). All entries include cross-references to related entries; most include a source list and a brief list of related Web sites. Written for a general audience, the entries provide basic descriptive and historical information in language that is easy to understand. A strength of the encyclopedia is its incorporation of 45 primary documents into the body of the work, an effective way of introducing sources such as presidential speeches, signing statements, statutes, and government reports. Another strength is thorough coverage of issues related to poverty among Native Americans. Many entries include photographs and sidebars that enhance the reader’s understanding of the topic and the historical and social context. The encyclopedia opens with an alphabetical list of entries. A topical listing would have been a helpful addition. The list of entries is followed by four introductory essays on poverty and local governments, state governments, the federal government, and tribal governments. The 44-page “Chronology of the Government and Policy” summarizes major legislation, events, and milestones. Better indexing would have improved the work; the Eugenics entry discusses sterilization but is not referenced under sterilization in the index. Recommended for college and public libraries.--From publisher description.