How the Other Half Lives

( 30 )

Overview

This is the first modern edition of Jacob Riis's classic work to follow, in both content and layout, the original 1890 edition. The only teaching edition that includes all 51 of the book's original illustrations, this volume provides students with the full impact of tenement life and the living conditions of New York City's immigrant poor in the late nineteenth century. An extensive introduction by David Leviatin?both a historian and a professional photographer?places Riis and his work in the context of ...
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How the Other Half Lives (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

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Overview

This is the first modern edition of Jacob Riis's classic work to follow, in both content and layout, the original 1890 edition. The only teaching edition that includes all 51 of the book's original illustrations, this volume provides students with the full impact of tenement life and the living conditions of New York City's immigrant poor in the late nineteenth century. An extensive introduction by David Leviatin—both a historian and a professional photographer—places Riis and his work in the context of turn-of-the-century urban reform. Also included are extensive gloss notes on the text, a chronology, questions for consideration, a bibliography, and an index.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781458500427
  • Publisher: HathiTrust
  • Publication date: 10/18/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,351,965
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text
How the Other Half Lives 1
Preface 3
Introduction 5
1 Genesis of the Tenement 9
2 The Awakening 17
3 The Mixed Crowd 21
4 The Down Town Back-alleys 26
5 The Italian in New York 41
6 The Bend 46
7 A Raid on the Stale-beer Dives 58
8 The Cheap Lodging-houses 66
9 Chinatown 73
10 Jewtown 82
11 The Sweaters of Jewtown 92
12 The Bohemians - Tenement-house Cigarmaking 103
13 The Color Line in New York 112
14 The Common Herd 120
15 The Problem of the Children 135
16 Waifs of the City's Slums 141
17 The Street Arab 147
18 The Reign of Rum 159
19 The Harvest of Tares 164
20 The Working Girls of New York 176
21 Pauperism in the Tenements 183
22 The Wrecks and the Waste 191
23 The Man with the Knife 196
24 What Has Been Done 199
25 How the Case Stands 209
Appendix 219
Explanatory Notes 225
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 30 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2006

    Exploitation of thousands by few greedy men

    Christian builder¿s cry: ¿How shall the love of God be understood by those who have been nurtured in sight only of the greed of man¿ (Riss, J., 1997. p. 198)? This book is written by Jacob A. Riis with introduction and notes by Luc Sante. The main theme of this book is the pervasive exploitation of thousands by a few greedy men. Riis blatantly describes the stark heinous ways and methods by which men prey upon those who are less educated, fortunate, and ignorant. He delves into the naked truth of the depth of depravity by which the lives of thousands are trapped in a hopelessly dark vicious cycle of suffering and struggles for meager wages, and living conditions within the walls of tenement buildings which stand between hell and death. In chapter 3, titled, The Mixed Crowd, Riis also describes the many ethnic groups who quickly learn that the evil they fled from in their native lands, stalks freely unrestrained in America. They are preyed upon for they are easily deceived and hooked by even their own fellow countrymen who slyly make their fortunes without the least acknowledgment of the evilness they perpetuate. Walter Isaacson in Benjamin Franklin An American Life motivates and inspires his readers to take actions to improve the life of the common men. Riis also motivates his readers to acknowledge the wickedness and greed by a few men of power. Riis exposes the plight of those who are uneducated, uninformed, and thus are easily exploited and preyed upon. Riis and Benjamin Franklin both clearly appear to acknowledge the importance of knowledge and the exposing of a few elite men who control the lives of ¿common men¿. The passion to arrest the treachery brought on by greed for money, fame, and control by exposing through print is shared by Riis and Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin was motivated to make life better, for the prevalence of freedom and exposition of corruption in government and the elite class. Riis, one could easily claim, had the same utopian mindset that we have studied and discussed thus far in this ¿Adult Education Movement¿ course. Utopian views and goals encompass the importance of equal opportunities and rights of every American to be able to be free to pursue steps to self preservation, self improvement, and success unfettered by all that is evil, unjust, and corrupt. In the introduction, the authors purpose for writing, How the Other Half Lives, is clearly stated: ¿The books immediate mission was to take on the willed ignorance of the middle and upper classes, who knew that there was human misery in their city but preferred to believe that it was deserved, perhaps even chosen, by its victims ¿(Riis, J. & Sante, L., 1997. x). Riis has blatantly described the plight of emigrants who flocked to the shores of New York in the early 18-19 century in hopes of a better life: ¿ the poorest immigrant comes here with the purpose and ambition to better himself and, given half a chance, might be reasonably expected to make the most of it¿ (Riis, `1997, p. 23). Riis has been very successful in his purpose for writing this vividly exposing book. Like Benjamin Franklin, he too understands the power of ¿printing¿ as an effective way to educate the general public. Riis does not leave the reader with the sense of total helplessness of the state of New York cities tenement residents: In chapter 25, titled, How the Case Stands, Riis presents: Three effective ways of dealing with the tenements in New York: 1. By law, 2. By remodeling and making the most out of the old houses, 3. By building new, model tenements (Riis, 1997, p. 210). These solutions were gradually incorporated in a movement for reform. My personal reaction to this book initially was of immense sadness. Reading about the evil dark actions of men against men did not surprise me. What grieved me the most was the very absence of compassion or kindness, the inhuman living conditions, and the coldhearted exploitation of the poor a

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    Not what I thought!

    I was totally disappointed in this book! I thought it would be written in the 'people of the era's' words and their descriptions! Extremely boring... pushed myself to finish it!

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2006

    How the Other Half Lives

    How the Other Half Lives by Jacob A. Riis (1997). As I read this book I became appalled at how the poor were forced to live. As I continued to read it became apparent that the poor just did not know any other way of life and those improvements that were forced upon them failed unless they were taught how to live in improved conditions. I have visited New York City a couple of times, and find it a lively city to visit but not my cup of tea for living. I did not understand how the poor lived until I read this book. Each lived from day to day, etching out a life that somehow was better than the one they left behind when they came to America. The children seem to suffer the most. For most, they have nothing to compare to and it is a matter of the strongest who shall survive. Without time in the day to educate themselves, adult or child, to somehow better their way of life because the overwhelming hunger lurked at their door. As I read this book I became appalled at how the poor were forced to live in New York City when we have clearly read about Benjamin Franklin that life was not that way for everyone. As I continued to read it became apparent that the poor in New York City just did not know any other way of life or want any other way of life. The improvements that were forced upon them failed unless they were taught how to live in improved conditions, educated. As I finished this book I realized that without having this piece of ugliness in our history we may not be were we are today, people began to see that being educated does not always mean a formal education. Education can mean that you need to learn ¿how to live¿ or defend yourself. We have Health Departments that set standards that hold to our values in the way we live today. I think anyone interested in Americas History should read this book. I also think that all our youth should be required to read this book, to understand how an education is so important to the way we live today. An education will keep us from returning to the filth of the poorest of the poor.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2006

    How the Other Half Lives

    ADED 5510 Book Review Riis, J. (1890 original, 1997 this edition). How the Other Half Lives. New York, New York: Penguin Classics Introduction How the Other Half Lives was written at a time when none of the social safety nets to contemporary society were in place. As an author, Riis provides us with an observational study of the squalid conditions that existed in urban New York for the working poor during the period near the end of the 19th century. The text is an unvarnished look at the circumstances that existed at the time of writing this observational study, during the urban industrial revolution. The author employs his journalistic abilities to illuminate the facts of the circumstances he was documenting, but avoids employing what we would call contemporary journalistic objectivity inasmuch as his inherent prejudice to the ethnic subjects of the study. A contemporary biologist would recognize the term ¿rookery¿ in terms of animal enclaves, but in the context of this study, the term is used in terms of the horrendous living conditions of the poor, working class. Major Themes The central message of the book is the indifference that contemporaries of the time, operating in capitalist industrial revolution, simple saw and acted upon the financially adventitious actions of harvesting profits based on the living or existing needs of the working poor. This message is outlined in the book by the author¿s historical accounts of the initial evolution of the living conditions during the mid-1800s in New York. The evolution of decay in sanitary and general behavioral conditions due to perennial neglect of the poorer neighborhoods is highlighted by the strong statements of the author in his recount of the efforts around 1869 after the disease outbreaks of cholera and smallpox had hampered the efforts of the 1867 remedial legislation (p. 17). It was interesting that Riis observed that efforts of remediation in dwelling lighting and sanitation was greeted with resistance not only from the profiteers of the squalor, but of the inhabitants themselves. It is also interesting that the initial efforts to correct the most basic health and sanitation issues took over five years of effort. The author¿s description of the inhabitants of the situation as ¿cave dwellers¿ to route the dark, cellar dwelling of circumstances is further evidence of his thesis that behavioral patterning can influence or twist the outlook and expectations of any cultural situation. As previously mentioned, the author does not relinquish his ¿cultural categorization¿ of peoples in the deplorable conditions of the time, he reinforces the challenge of change for the better in examples such as in the chapter The Sweaters of Jewtown where a friend of Riis notes the cost-efficient manufacturing scenario (p. 101) and it is noted that at that time, the ¿gregarious¿ aspect of that culture was not inclined to ¿herding¿ the masses into a farming circumstance outside the present situation. In this same light, the idea of trade schools for manual training could not be something of reality as the implied scenario would be one of ¿who support them while they are training?¿ The theme of ¿no way out¿ in the financial and behavioral circumstance is displayed in the circumstance if there is not an outside intervention. Integration of Themes in Adult Education The broad picture presented by How the Other Half Lives displays a circumstance that can evolve when a mantra of a singular, pure economic and political policy is enabled over decades. The circumstances set forth by Jacob Riis demonstrate what was possible when social constructs were not concerned with such issues as individual potential or environments that can foster looking at potentials beyond the present economic realities. In the timeline of changes in attitudes and outlooks, Eduard Lindeman (1926) provided a philosophical view of what can be done if the social construct looks outside t

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2012

    Very disappointing

    I got the bok mostly because I was interested in the photos. In the nok version the photos are so small, and of such poor resolution, as to be nothing more than graytone smears. Dont waste your money!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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