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The Lost City: Discovering the Forgotten Virtues of Community in the Chicago of the 1950s
     

The Lost City: Discovering the Forgotten Virtues of Community in the Chicago of the 1950s

by Alan Ehrenhalt
 

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In the spirit of Verlyn Klinkenborg's The Last Fine Time and Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s Colored People, this book reveals how Americans once balanced the demands of modern life with a feeling of community--and how we might do so again.
"If you have time to read only one book this year, make it The Lost City."

Overview

In the spirit of Verlyn Klinkenborg's The Last Fine Time and Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s Colored People, this book reveals how Americans once balanced the demands of modern life with a feeling of community--and how we might do so again.

"If you have time to read only one book this year, make it The Lost City."
--Amitai EtzioniA
"The Lost City is truly a wonderful read, and I found I could hardly put it down."
--Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University
"A powerful and persuasive work, which, if heeded, could go a long way toward solving our social ills."
--Heather MacDonald,Wall Street Journal

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ehrenhalt, the editor of Governing magazine, compares 1950s American mundane life, as experienced in three greater Chicago neighborhoods, to today's times. Almost inevitably, this is an exercise of a conservative world view yielding conservative-affirming results. Ehrenhalt argues that what was lost in the assertion of Sixties liberation politics was the pervasive, sustaining concept of authority. By avoiding the retrospective idealism of nostalgia, however, Ehrenhalt argues a case that should impress, though not convert, liberal readers. In Chicago, his laboratories are white ethnic St. Nick's on the West Side and the South Side's Bronzeville African American enclave. Ehrenhalt concludes with an unconvincing tribute to high Victorianism that mars the balance of his historical observations, yet in sum this makes a good acquisition for libraries supporting urban, community, and American studies.Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.
Mary Carroll
Ehrenhalt, executive editor of "Governing" magazine and author of "The United States of Ambition" (1991), explores what was gained and lost when the children of the 1950s rejected the social bargain that defined their parents' lives. He studies three communities: St. Nicholas of Tolentine parish in the Bungalow Belt on Chicago's Southwest Side; Bronzeville, the narrow South Side strip where segregation forced almost all African Americans to live; and Elmhurst, an older suburb west of the city facing the demands of new subdivisions. Different as these communities were, all three "were" communities: geographically defined, linked by street life and dozens of clubs and organizations, led by widely respected authority figures--including clergymen who cultivated congregants' moral convictions. Ehrenhalt maintains that 1950s adults accepted limited choice, restricted privacy, and sometimes overbearing authority in return for stable communities, jobs, relationships, clear rules, and trusted leaders: a trade-off the majority--though not those excluded from the bargain's payoffs--felt was fair. Their children rebelled against this bargain and are still searching for satisfactory anchors to replace community, authority, and sin. Challenging and provocative.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465041923
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
08/28/1995
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.57(h) x 1.11(d)

What People are Saying About This

Robert D. Putnam
"The Lost City is truly a wonderful read, and I found I could hardly put it down."
Amitai Etzioni
"If you have time to read only one book this year, make it The Lost City."
Heather MacDonald
"A powerful and persuasive work, which, if heeded, could go a long way toward solving our social ills."

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