Foundational Work on the Carceral State — A Review of “Whose Detroit?”

Thompson, Heather Ann. Whose Detroit?: Politics, Labor, and Race in a Modern American City. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001. Reviewed by Ian Toller-Clark Historians, social scientists, and public commentators have long wondered how and why America’s cities descended into an “urban crisis” in the final decades of the twentieth century. It has been twenty years […]

Read More

Photos of Inequality — A Review of “The Street”

Kwate, Naa Oyo A., ed. The Street: A Photographic Field Guide to American Inequality. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2021. Reviewed by Howard Gillette In 1992 Time Magazine presented its readers with a scathing picture of Camden, New Jersey, under the telling headline, “Who Could Live Here?” Featuring images of desecrated landscapes as the background […]

Read More

Creating Research Triangle Park– A Review of “Brain Magnet”

Cummings, Alex Sayf. Brain Magnet: Research Triangle Park and the Idea of the Idea Economy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020. Reviewed by Andrew Hedden A generation of labor historians famously asked: “Why was there no socialism in the United States?” Employing new forms of social history and foregrounding the country’s long history of class […]

Read More

Celebrate the Launch of the Cambridge Elements in Global Urban History series

This Thursday, June 17, join Michael Goebel, Tracy Neumann, and Joseph Ben Prestel – the editors of the Global Urban History Blog and now the new Cambridge University Press Elements in Global Urban History series – to celebrate the publication of the first two Elements: Why Cities Matter by Richard Harris and Real Estate and […]

Read More

Hyper-Segregation, Inequality, and Murder Rates — A Review of “The Ecology of Homicide”

Schneider, Eric C. The Ecology of Homicide: Race, Place, and Space in Postwar Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020. Reviewed by Menika Dirkson In 2006 national news media bestowed the name “Killadelphia” on the “City of Brotherly Love” when police recorded 406 homicides, predominantly involving Black men, in Philadelphia’s low-income, African American neighborhoods. For […]

Read More

Member of the Week: Alex Sayf Cummings

Alex Sayf Cummings is a professor of History at Georgia State University and the author of Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of Copyright in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 2013) and Brain Magnet: Research Triangle Park and the Idea of the Idea Economy (Columbia, 2020). She is also a co-editor of East of East: The Making of Greater […]

Read More

Education Failed to be an Equalizer in Boston — A Review of “The Education Trap”

Groeger, Cristina Viviana. The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021. Reviewed by Erika M. Kitzmiller For centuries, social reformers and elected officials have insisted that education is central to reducing the inequities between the rich and poor, and in turn, to generating a more equitable […]

Read More

Anti-Black Punitive Traditions in Early American Policing

By DeAnza A. Cook Editors Note: This post, part of our Disciplining the City series, expounds upon the central thesis of “The Mass Criminalization of Black Americans: A Historical Overview” and examines the development of anti-black punitive traditions in American policing that first surfaced in the era of slavery and settler colonization. An English court […]

Read More

Demythologizing Newsboys — A Review of “Crying the News”

DiGirolamo, Vincent. Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. Reviewed by Cristina Groeger In Crying the News: A History of America’s Newsboys, Vincent DiGirolamo gives newsboys the historical weight they are due. At nearly 600 pages, this tome offers a comprehensive history of a youth occupation spanning two […]

Read More

Topography and Poverty — A Review of “Urban Lowlands”

Moga, Steven T. Urban Lowlands: A History of Neighborhoods, Poverty, and Planning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020. Reviewed by Henry C. Binford This fine book weaves together several strands of United States urban history over the period from Reconstruction to the New Deal. Urban Lowlands: A History of Neighborhoods, Poverty, and Planning is an examination […]

Read More