Janet Poppendieck
Breadlines Knee-Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression

Rutgers University Press, 1985
356pp | ISBN 9780813511214 (Hardcover)


This book provides historical perspective on two of today's important public issues: farm income and hunger. It analyzes the origins of a national food assistance policy during the Thirties, when an attempt to solve the seeming paradox of simultaneous hunger and food surplus drove much of the public debate. Poppendieck demonstrates that food programs came to be seen by an organized farm lobby as a way of alleviating huge farm commodity surpluses. Unraveling the interrelated and complex agricultural and assistance policies, particularly for those unfamiliar with the terminology and bureaucracy, requires a good deal of skill. Poppendieck largely succeeds. The story she tells of good intentions gone bad, however, does not offer much hope for policy solutions to current farm and hunger problems. For informed laypersons, scholars, and specialists.
Library Journal, Charles K. Piehl, Director of Grants Management, Mankato State Univ., Minn.

About Janet Poppendieck

Janet Poppendieck is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is the author of Free for All: Fixing School Food in America; (University of California Press, 2010); Sweet Charity? Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement (Penguin, 1999); and Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression (Rutgers University Press, 1985).