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A Prayer for the City Paperback – December 29, 1998
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From Library Journal
-?William L. Waugh, Georgia State Univ., Atlanta
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In stark and sometimes shocking detail, Bissinger lays out the crises assailing the modern urban core: violence, poverty, economic development, poor public educational systems and so on. What's truly wonderful about Bissinger's book is that he leaves so many questions open. He isn't shallow or dismissive about these urban dilemmas; Bissinger doesn't give pat answers or bromides about how these problems can be solved.
And that's a remarkable achievement on the author's part, particularly given the manner in which he structures this book. Though he sketches the lives of several Philadelphia citizens, there are undeniably two central characters in this book: Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell and his Chief of Staff David Cohen. In some ways -- and I think Bissinger purposefully and effectively conveys this image - Rendell and Cohen should be seen as two sides of the same coin.
Both Rendell and Cohen possess essential characteristics that will be needed in the fight to save the city, but the skills of each are different and, as such, they need each other to do what must be done. Rendell is the affable, easy-mannered, though sometimes short-tempered old politician who is out front. Cohen is the workaholic lawyer whose ruthless attention to the minutiae and detail of public policy brings him 17-hour days and little public glory. The highly public role Rendell plays is layed out in one particularly moving section toward the beginning of the book. Bissinger details a funereal November, 1994 car ride that Rendell took to a city hospital where a police patrolman who had been shot was being treated.Read more ›
"A Prayer for the City" also follows the lives of four Philadelphians during this same period. This makes for interesting contrasts that shows how the story of Philadelphia during this era affected people differently. Although, I wonder why, after several years of following a Mayor around, the book did not concentrate more on the Mayor.
The book shows Ed Rendell, the person, flaws and strengths. Ed Rendell is presented as a strongly driven man who works hard, knows his goals, and does his best to reach those goals. This is seen in contract negotiations where he know what he wanted entering, he knew contingencies, and he knew how to reach his goals, which included allowing others to gain credit and his opposition to come to agreement by being able to walk away from the negotiating table with the ability to claim victory, or else the agreements would never have been reached. Agree or disagree with the result, this ability to engage in complex and strategic thinking and reacting allows readers to conclude that Ed Rendell is a very skilled and driven leader.
Ed Rendell is seen as a hard worker, but as one who doesn't react well to overexertion. He is conflicted by the expectations that the Mayor must go to the hospital of any wounded police officer, knowing that a private family time can be seen as being inappropriately disturbed by a politician and the media.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ed Rendell allowed a writer, Buzz Bissinger, to shadow him during his first term as Mayor of Philadelphia. This book is the result of what Buzz saw during those four years. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Leon Czikowsky
I recommend this book who has ever been interested in Urban Policy and or the history of housing in Philadelphia. Great read!Published 24 months ago by Jocelyn Providence
I was assigned this reading for a Political Science class in undergrad and must say I was pleasantly surprised. Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by Ashley Amazing
Just began reading a few days ago but seems promising...
-Reading it for school
Other students who have already taken the class loved it... Read more
Came in time. The description of the product was what I expected and definitely a good purchase. I definitely recommend this person!Published on March 30, 2013 by Lily
This book came within a couple of days. The book doesn't have creases or any other damages like that. Overall I'm very satisfied with my purchase!Published on May 26, 2012 by Jperalez
Buzz Bissinger's excellent work about Mayor Ed Rendell and Philadelphia is one of the best expositions of America's urban problems and the politics which exacerbate said problems. Read morePublished on April 28, 2012 by QRA321