It is hard to think of a more timely and topical major contribution than Drs. Naparstek, Biegel, Spiro, and collaborators have provided in this volume. Their penetrating, comprehensive study and field tests give us mapping toward the goal of reifying the concept of community as applied to human services. The book will prove invaluable to those at the policy level-legislators, planners, and administrators. It will serve as an essential reference for community workers-professional provid- ers, natural helpers, and citizens as a whole. A salient ideal of New Federalism-placing governance as close to the people as practicable-seems a prophetic match with the model of Neighborhood Empowerment. As the authors point out, conventional wisdom has seemed to offer government regulation, control, and pro- gram evaluation as a panacea package for improving human services. This work suggests a radically different approach; specifically, a shift to greater instrumental involvement of the richly variegated mosaic of American neighborhoods, combined with a system of excellent, high techlogy service agencies. Certainly, genuine efforts have been made before toward a true linkage of the community with human services. The Great Society pro- grams, with their emphasis on citizen involvement and maximum fea- sible participation established the foundation for legitimate citizen/ consumer linkage with the program process. Yet, in so many instances, the results fell far short of expectations.
Arthur J. Naparstek, David E. Biegel, Herzl R. Spiro