CITIES IN TROUBLE by Nathan--Ed Glazer


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Herewith another non-book is added to the urban affairs shelf, which threatens to become as overcrowded as the slums. The articles brought together by a well-known sociologist deal with familiar city problems (housing, unemployment, pollution, municipal employee strikes, crime, race, welfare, public schools); their authors include some big names (Paul Goodman, Christopher Jencks, Bayard Rustin, Daniel Moynihan, Norman Mailer, Glazer himself). But neither individually nor collectively do the essays produce a coherent interpretation of our urban ills. The main difficulty lies in the selection. All the articles were originally published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, and they share the usual characteristics of Times pieces: descriptive rather than analytical, comfortingly middlebrow rather than profound, they're so parochial that 8 of 18 deal entirely or principally with New York, so topical that most (though written in the last two years) are already dated. The general effect is tired, with some exceptions: Paul Goodman's Charming article on the Hudson; Herbert Gans' still-fresh prophecy on the white exodus to suburbia; James Q. Wilson's notes on violence. These utterances do deserve republication--but in a more thoughtfully assembled anthology than this one.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1969
Publisher: Quadrangle