THE LEVITTOWNERS by Herbert Gans

THE LEVITTOWNERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A sociological survey by an ""observer-participant,"" this refutes the theses of many suburbia novels and articles: that massive housing developments are hotbeds of uxorial boredom, conducive to adultery, malaise and drunkenness. The town studied by resident sociologist Gans is Levittown, New Jersey, Where he lived with and interviewed neighbors and planners during 1958-1960 and upon which he spent two more years' study. His findings are revealing, his methods almost excessively pragmatic. His subjects break down into working-, bluecollar-, whitecollar- and upper middle class values. The values don't mix too well, but are well-defined and the behavioral outlines of Levittowners are extraordinarily clear. For the most part, Levittowners were surprised to be even asked whether they'd improved their family life by the big move. They had, although some sophisticates missed the metropolitan access to diversions. Hardest hit are the teenagers, who are bored stiff by Levittown's lack of recreation geared to their interests. The chasm between adults and teenagers is not likely soon to be bridged. No clobber job, Gans' study is an excellent assessment on religious, political, social and moral levels of the perfect subject for contained investigation.

Pub Date: May 12th, 1967
Publisher: Pantheon