A metaphor for America's urban tragedy as told in the dramatic story of old Jewish Boston's swift and cruel demise. According to Levine (Sociology and Religion/Boston Univ.) and Harmon (ed., Brookline Citizen), idealistic advocates of racial integration and greedy real-estate kingpins conspired in the mid- 60's to target the Jewish inner-city enclaves of Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury for a massive infusion of poor blacks. Working-class areas like ``Southie'' (the Irish neighborhood) and the North End (Boston's Italian stronghold), the authors say, were spared from the carrots of mortgage manna (e.g., banks conspiring to offer Dorchester mortgages easily, and only, to blacks) and the sticks of violent blockbusting techniques (including synagogue burnings) because it was known that these minorities would rather fight than take flight. Levine and Harmon are sympathetic to the goals of racial integration but are indignant over the brutality and unfairness that accompanied these orchestrations. Bankers and politicians are indicted here by elaborate court evidence and by supplementary research cited by the authors, who use their insiders' passion (Harmon was born and raised in Dorchester) and professional expertise to forever preserve the corned-beef flavor of old Blue Hill Avenue. As much an elegiac memory book of old Jewish Boston as a searing indictment against her killers.
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