Long before Charles Murray took on the topic, Henry Hazlitt wrote an outstanding book on poverty that not only provided an empirical examination of the problem but also presented a rigorous theory for understanding the relationship between poverty and income growth.
He examines poverty in the ancient world, the poor laws of England, the advance of the middle class in the United States, the failure of welfare programs, the fallacies associated with income redistribution, and the relationship between population and poverty.
It's 20 chapters are outstanding essays that make for a well-integrated text on the topic, one which holds up as prophetic in every way, having foreshadowing welfare reform but also pointing the way toward even more radical reforms. The way out of poverty, he explains, is freedom, and freedom alone. 240 pages plus index.