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RICHARD B. MCKENZIE is the Walter B. Gerken Professor Emeritus in the Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. While he is an economist by profession who has written over thirty books mainly on economic policy, he has published extensively on “orphanages” of the past, including Home Away from Home: The Forgotten History of Orphanages.
Professor McKenzie has also written a memoir of his experience growing up in an orphanage in the 1950s, The Home, 1996 and 2006) and on his recent experience living on the campus of The Crossnore School, Miracle Mountain (Dickens, 2013), at the time a self-proclaimed “modern-day orphanage,” home and school for about a hundred children with multiple difficulties. He also edited Rethinking Orphanages for the 21st Century (Sage,1998) and produced a documentary, Homecoming: The Forgotten World of America’s Orphanages, that aired on over 220 PBS stations in 2006. He has widely published commentaries on economic and childcare policies.
For most people, the word “orphanage” conjures up images of poor little Oliver Twist pleading for more gruel. Many are convinced that the history of orphanages is a social welfare record of total devastation to the lives of the children who grew up in them.