Synopses & Reviews
Has liberalism lost its way--or merely its voice? This book by one of the nation's most insightful, articulate, and powerful Democrats at last breaks the silence that has greeted the Republican Party's revolution of 1994. When voters handed Democrats their worst defeat in 100 years, New Yorkers returned Daniel Patrick Moynihan to the Senate for his fourth term. Amid the wreck of his party's control and the disarray of programs and policies he has championed for three decades, Senator Moynihan here takes stock of the politics, economics, and social problems that have brought us to this pass. With a clarity and civility far too rare in the political arena, he offers a wide-ranging meditation on the nation's social strategies for the last 60 years, as well as a vision for the years to come.
Because Senator Moynihan has long been a defender of the policies whose fortunes he follows here, Miles to Go is in a sense autobiographical, an exemplary account of the social life of the body politic. As it guides us through government's attempts to grapple with thorny problems like family disintegration, welfare, health care, deviance, and addiction, Moynihan writes of "The Coming of Age of American Social Policy." Through most of our history American social policy has dealt with issues that first arose in Europe, and essentially followed European models. Now, in a post-industrial society we face issues that first appear in the United States for which we will have to devise our own responses. Ringing with the wisdom of experience, decency, and common sense, Miles to Go asks "why liberalism cannot be taught what conservatives seem to know instinctively"--to heed the political and moral sentiments of the people and reshape itself for the coming age.
"Moynihan meditates here on his 30 years in public life and the challenges ahead. This is not an easy freeway ride toward a certain conclusion but a lurching taxi race through the traffic andpotholes of contemporary culture, politics, history and social science. The New York Democratic senator's observations are acute and unencumbered by a desire to please or the need to adhere to convention. Which may explain why heremains uncommonly respected and his thoughts welcome." --John Balzar, Los Angeles Times
"[A] provocative book...Given histrack record in predicting entropy in America's most important institutions and government programs, the warnings Moynihan provides are sufficient to make the book an important one." --PaulMagnusson, Business Week
"Miles to Gois a chilling story, superbly documented, passionately argued, morally compelling. It is achronicle of intellectual laziness, political cowardice, the inadequacy of social research methods and devices, the fallibility or even ridiculousness of much of the social scientific approach to real-life problems and the fatuousnessof trying to produce national policies that comprehensively deal with individual problems." --Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun
"[Moynihan] writes clearly from his own wide experience about the possibilities of social policy based on evidence and research. Some of his examples concern times those in power were told but did notwant to listen or believe: as with the 1980s' evidence that growing urban poverty was not [to] be cured spontaneously by upswings in the trade cycle...He is bold and powerful in suggesting that, since the escalation of crime is mainlydrugs-related, decriminalisation is a serious option. Moynihan is also bold in not flinching at the social consequences of `the near collapse of family structures in the inner cities'." --Bernard Crick, New Statesman
"Moynihan gives us a perceptive and observant analysis of liberal social policy--past,present, and future." --Louis B. Cei, Richmond Times-Dispatch
"[B]ecause Moynihan has been at the center of manycontroversies over the past 30 years, the book indeed provides a fascinating personal history of social policy. The fact that Moynihan's writing is always vivid, and often quite funny, also makes the book a success...Moynihan providesintelligent and insightful commentary on our major social issues." --Richard D. Kahlenberg, Legal Times
"[Moynihan] is ashrewd and combative public intellectual, an academic in the best sense, who has thought hard and written cogently about the greatest issues of his time--welfare, street crime, the erosion of the family, education, drugs, Sovietcommunism, the out-of-control federal budget...In his short memoir, `Miles to Go,' this remarkable man looks back, not without a certain charming immodesty, at some of the turbulent policy battles of the last three decades and at hisown role as observer and legislator in their outcome." --Peter A. Jay, Washington Times
"The subtitle is accurate: this iseasily the most personal (as well as the most passionate) of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's books, and it is written very much in the author's characteristic style: learned, witty, combative...My own differences with it notwithstanding, Ifound Miles to Gochallenging and often irresistible." --John J. DiIulio, Jr., Commentary
"This collection of essays does include "Defining Deviancy Down," which is worth a trip to the library, if not the price of a book by one of our more thoughtful politicians looking back." --First Things
"Traditional conservatives and liberals should read this book, as required scolding. Those of us whoconsider ourselves welfare state conservatives should read it to remind ourselves of the old wisdom, and to regain strength for the work still to be done." --Steven M. Teles,Boston Book Review
"Anyone interested in comprehending the current debate in America is advised to read this book." --Contemporary Review[UK]
"The several essays in this volume are vintage Moynihan, ranging widely over some of the mostimportant questions of contemporary public policy in both the US and the UK--health care, social welfare, crime, drugs, social security, international trade, race, ethnicity, the effects of globalization on national economies and, notleast, the constant, nagging question of where the money to feed public programmes is to be found...The essays are admirably interdisciplinary, free of jargon and lucidly written. Their central theme is the necessary, but much less thansplendid relationship between social science knowledge and policy-making...These essays should be read by all students of American public policy. Moynihan writes eloquently and cogently about the most serious problems of our time." --W. Wayne Shannon, Borderlines[UK]
"This is one of the most insightful accounts of contemporary politics available,stuffed with Moynihan's wit, passion, and prophecy." --Alan Wolfe, Commonweal
"There is a wisdom about this book that goesbeyond the specific subjects of social policy with which it deals. That is why it has much to say for the general reader, even for those of us quite removed from the American environment." --Allan E. Shapiro, Jerusalem Post
"The book's subtitle accurately suggests that readers will be given Moynihan's informedand sophisticated insider view of the success or failure of recent attempts at social policy on issues ranging from drugs, crime, and health care to budgets, welfare, and race...For Moynihan's well-expressed, stimulating thought, andfor other equally challenging discussions, especially his essay, `Defining Deviancy Down,' readers will find Miles to Gorewarding." --Choice
"No national legislator has been more involved in social policy than New York's senior senator, so when hestitches together a clutch of speeches and calls them a personal history of social policy, he is not being self-important...He is also immensely cogent...Moynihan presents his analyses of such matters as balancing the federal budget,tolerating antisocial behavior (in the much discussed, seminal essay `Defining Deviancy Down'), controlling illicit drugs, and reforming welfare…Moynihan offers such illuminating concepts...and clarifies so many dauntingissues…that it is impossible not to become a better citizen from [the] reading [of this book]." --Ray Olson, Booklist
"In tracing America's social policy since the 1960s, Moynihan is well versed in the subject, having served in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations and having authored many of the policieson civil rights, drugs, and welfare...His thought-provoking book is strongly recommended." --Library Journal
"Soberingreflections...on the cost of precipitous action taken without the benefit of social science research or humane reflection." --Kirkus Reviews
"Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the nation's best thinker among politicians since Lincoln and its best politician among thinkers since Jefferson, stands at the summit of a long career in public life." --Michael Barone and Grant Ujifusa, from The Almanac of American Politics 1994
"If you look back over a period of thirty years or thirty-five years, Daniel Patrick Moynihan has been right again and again and again and again about the problems in this society." --MortonKondracke
[This book contains] what perhaps only Moynihan can provide: the leading politician's inside view and intimate knowledge of the legislative history of American social programs, combined with sufficient familiarity with the social sciences and writing skill to make expert government studies accessible to the general reader.
This is one of the most insightful accounts of contemporary politics available, stuffed with Moynihan's wit, passion, and prophecy.
There is a wisdom about this book that goes beyond the specific subjects of social policy with which it deals. That is why it has much to say for the general reader, even for those of us quite removed from theAmerican environment.
Moynihan gives us a perceptive and observant analysis of liberal social policy--past, present, and future.
Moynihan gives us a perceptive and observant analysis of liberal social policy--past, present, and future.
The subtitle is accurate: this is easily the most personal (as well as the most passionate) of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's books, and it is written very much in the author's characteristic style: learned, witty, combative...My own differences with it notwithstanding, I found Miles to Gochallenging and often irresistible.
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan offers a wide-ranging meditation on the nation's social strategies for the last sixty years, as well as a vision for the years to come.
About the Author
<>Daniel Patrick Moynihanwas the author of numerous books, including On the Law ofNations, and coeditor (with Nathan Glazer) of Ethnicity,both from Harvard.
Table of Contents
Three Decades of The Public Interest
Defining Deviancy Down
America at Midnight?
The Coming of Age of American Social Policy