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The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration, 1966-1999

Ray Suarez

Published by Free Press
ISBN 10: 0684834022 / ISBN 13: 9780684834023
New / Hardcover / Quantity Available: 20
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Title: The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the ...

Publisher: Free Press

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

Book Type: Hardcover

Description:

Hardcover. 272 pages. Dimensions: 9.3in. x 6.1in. x 0.9in.Life in the city, for the millions who lived it, was once something less than the sum of their lifestyle choices: they woke up, they ate, they shoveled coal, loved, hated, prayed, mated, reproduced, died. For most, the home was not a display object but a place to keep the few things they had managed to hold on to from the surpluses produced by their labor. Their material life was made of the things they didnt have to eat, wear, or burn right this minute. A concertina maybe A family Bible A hunting rifle This life in the old neighborhood, so lyrically captured by Ray Suarez, was once lived by a huge number of Americans. One in seven of us can directly connect our lineage through just one city, Brooklyn. In 1950, except for Los Angeles, the top ten American cities were all in the Northeast or Midwest, and all had populations over 800, 000. Since then, especially since the mid-60s, a way of life has simply vanished. Ray Suarez, veteran interviewer and host of NPRs Talk of the Nation, is a child of Brooklyn who has long been fascinated with the stories behind the largest of our once-great cities. He has talked to longtime residents, recent arrivals, and recent departures; community organizers, priests, cops, and politicians; and scholars who have studied neighborhoods, demographic trends, and social networks. The result is a rich tapestry of voices and history. The Old Neighborhood captures a crucial chapter in the experience of postwar America. It is a book not just for first- and second-generation Americans, but for anyone who remembers the prewar cities or wonders how we could have gotten to where we are. It is a book about old neighborhoods that were once cherished, and are now lost. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Bookseller Inventory # 9780684834023

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Synopsis: "Life in the city, for the millions who lived it, was once something less than the sum of their lifestyle choices: they woke up, they ate, they shoveled coal, loved, hated, prayed, mated, reproduced, died. For most, the home was not a display object but a place to keep the few things they had managed to hold on to from the surpluses produced by their labor. Their material life was made of the things they didn't have to eat, wear, or burn right this minute. A concertina maybe? A family Bible? A hunting rifle?"
This life in "the old neighborhood," so lyrically captured by Ray Suarez, was once lived by a huge number of Americans. One in seven of us can directly connect our lineage through just one city, Brooklyn. In 1950, except for Los Angeles, the top ten American cities were all in the Northeast or Midwest, and all had populations over 800,000. Since then, especially since the mid-60s, a way of life has simply vanished.
Ray Suarez, veteran interviewer and host of NPR's "Talk of the Nation®," is a child of Brooklyn who has long been fascinated with the stories behind the largest of our once-great cities. He has talked to longtime residents, recent arrivals, and recent departures; community organizers, priests, cops, and politicians; and scholars who have studied neighborhoods, demographic trends, and social networks. The result is a rich tapestry of voices and history. The Old Neighborhood captures a crucial chapter in the experience of postwar America. It is a book not just for first- and second-generation Americans, but for anyone who remembers the prewar cities or wonders how we could have gotten to where we are. It is a book about "old neighborhoods" that were once cherished, and are now lost.

Review: With a great deal of sadness, NPR host Ray Suarez chronicles the effects of the American migration from cities to suburbs in the second half of the 20th century. He visited a number of cities--including Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Miami, and Washington--to find out what went wrong. The Old Neighborhood makes its case with an effective mix of data and quotes from interviews with community organizers, government officials, people who stayed in the cities, and those who left. One of the best things about the book--no doubt a product of Suarez's radio background--is its tendency for extended quotes, where the voices of his interview subjects more fully emerge.

Suarez passes blame around freely for what happened to the cities and their neighborhoods, citing the loss of inner-city manufacturing jobs, crime, the decline of urban schools, and the increased availability of the automobile and development of highway systems. But mostly he blames America's inability to deal with race, asserting that whites simply don't want to live with blacks and will continue to move out further and further to prevent that from happening. (Suarez has little to say, however, about the tendency of middle-class blacks to flee the city as well.)

Although crime was down and job creation up in cities in the '90s, Suarez tends to focus on the negative. He did not, for example, interview people who moved back to the cities because their children finished school and they tired of long, bumper-to-bumper commutes and the lack of cultural offerings in the suburbs. And while many of the people he did talk to say they miss the close-knit community of their downtown neighborhoods, almost all say they are happy they left and were able to give their children a better life. Still, The Old Neighborhood remains an extremely readable clarion call for the importance of city life, obviously written from the heart. --Linda Killian

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