Social workers produced thousands of case files about the poor during the interwar years. Analyzing almost two thousand such case files and traveling from Boston, Minneapolis, and Portland to London and Melbourne, this book examines how these stories of poverty were narrated and reshaped by ethnic diversity, economic crisis, and war. Probing the similarities and differences in the ways Americans, Australians, and Britons understood and responded to poverty, the book draws a picture of social work that is based in the sometimes fraught encounters between the poor and their interpreters. It uses dramatization to bring these encounters to life—joining Miss Cutler and that resurrected horse are Miss Lindstrom and the fried potatoes and Mr. O'Neil and the seductive client—and to give these people a voice. The book is a study of charity, social work, and poverty.