What Works in Tackling Health Inequalities? Pathways, Policies and Practice through the Lifecourse S. Asthana and J. Halliday Bristol: Policy, Press, 2006
Health Action Zones: Partnerships for Health Equity M. Barnes, L. Bauld, M. Benzeval, K. Judge, M. Mackenzie, H. Sullivan Abingdon: Routledge, 2005
Health Inequality: An Introduction to Theories, Concepts and Methods M. Bartley Cambridge: Polity, 2004
Status Syndrome: How your Social Standing Directly Affects your Health and Life Expectancy M. Marmot London: Bloomsbury, 2004
These four texts on health inequalities are all very different books written by leading commentators with different academic backgrounds. This review will concentrate on the policy perspective that may be of most interest to many readers of this journal. It is also arguably the Achilles heel of the health inequalities literature. According to policy makers, much current research on health inequalities was of little use to policy making, and public health researchers have been criticized for political naivety, for lacking understanding of how policy is made, and for having unrealistic expectations (Petticrew et al., 2004: 815–816). Similarly, Klein (2003) points to the problems of ‘making policy in a fog’. The first two texts under review focus on policy and are written by policy analysts.