A remarkably incisive history and a wonderfully relevant contribution to an ongoing debate.

DEMOCRATIZING FINANCE

ORIGINS OF THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS MOVEMENT

A detailed history of community development financial institutions and the overall effort to provide capital to the economically disenfranchised. 

The “problem of providing access to capital to people on the economic margins” isn’t a new one, argues debut author Rosenthal, but dates back to the nation’s origins. At the end of the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin understood that “aspiring entrepreneurs of the working class” were stymied by insufficient access to capital, and he advocated a nascent version of microenterprise lending. And in the wake of the Civil War, the Freedmen’s Bureau established banks specifically designed to serve former slaves. The author meticulously traces this history through the explosion of credit unions in the early 20th century, the recommitment to battling poverty in the 1960s, the proliferation of community reinvestment strategies in the 1970s, and opportunities generated by the banking scandals of the 1980s. The central focus of the book, though, is the creation of CDFIs, possible because of a law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994. Unlike those programs that preceded it, CDFIs were designed to be less centralized and bureaucratic and more adaptable to community needs. Rosenthal expertly discusses the approach’s sundry strengths and accomplishments and its weaknesses, too, particularly with respect to the funding of social services, education, and health. And while the author’s history is granularly detailed, he raises provocative, philosophical questions about what we’ve cumulatively learned over the years: “How do we describe the universe of diverse institutions that bear that brand—now arguably the most valuable one in community development? Finally, what is the nature of the social phenomenon that we call community development finance?” Rosenthal is more than a detached observer—he led the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions for more than 30 years, the source of both his deep knowledge and obvious passion for the subject. His account is magisterially thorough and thoughtful—and timely given renewed calls to defund the CDFIs.

A remarkably incisive history and a wonderfully relevant contribution to an ongoing debate. 

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5255-3662-5

Page Count: 556

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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