Though McClelland offers few solutions for industrialized urban centers, his book is admirably long on explanation and...



Chicago journalist McClelland (Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President, 2010, etc.) examines the decline of urban industrial centers in the Midwestern United States and portions of the Great Lakes region.

A native of Lansing, Mich., one of those declining centers, the author presents impressively reported case studies and anecdotes from such cities as Detroit, Flint, Buffalo, Cleveland and Chicago, among others. The closing of factories—those that manufacture automobiles have been the most common—is no secret. Nor is the decline of labor unions, the desperation of the unemployed, the accompanying crime, racial tensions, environmental degradation and the moving of jobs to Mexico and overseas. But McClelland helps to make the old feel new by drawing on a combination of personal contacts, extensive interviewing and acute observation based on showing up and hanging out. Little-known details emerge throughout. How many readers already knew, for example, that Buffalo is the locale of perhaps the first Muslim settlement in the United States? Those Muslims, mostly from the nation of Yemen at first, arrived to take advantage of the attractive jobs in the since-shuttered steel mills. Everywhere throughout the industrialized cities, immigrant tribes gathered to forge steel in the mills and accept other demanding positions in factories, positions numerous American citizens were unwilling to take. But the Rust Belt grew rustier and rustier, as an appellation that formerly denoted pride came to signify poverty and unemployment. Rebirth in some sections of a few of the down-and-out cities seems possible, but mostly, hopelessness is ascendant and elected politicians and their financial supporters show little initiative in assisting the unemployed or underemployed.

Though McClelland offers few solutions for industrialized urban centers, his book is admirably long on explanation and empathy.

Pub Date: May 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60819-529-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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