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Desert Visions and the Making of Phoenix, 1860-2009 Paperback – March 15, 2012
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
From the Inside Flap
Through investigating Phoenix's struggle to become a major American metropolis, VanderMeer's study also offers a unique view of what it means to be a desert city.
From the Back Cover
"[Desert Visions and the Making of Phoenix], with its multiple themes, broad scope, and lively detail should appeal to a wide and diverse audience of readers interested in a contemporary American city in which the constant has been changing visions of growth." Journal of Cultural Geography.
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Top Customer Reviews
From its beginnings, Phoenix was distinctive from other towns in the relatively arid, desert-like Southwest. It was never really a "western" town with a natural Mexican and Native American population or involvement in the livestock or mining business. Phoenix was founded mainly as an agricultural. Carving out its own place, it always had to have a unique imagination in both representing itself regionally and nationally and in plans for growth. This particular imagination is seen from Phoenix's earliest decades when it represented itself as a something of an agricultural Eden making the desert bloom. This idealism resonated with the rest of the country, even to the East Coast cultural standard bearers. And it made the city more attractive as a tourist destination than most other "western" cities. In later phases, Phoenix would play up this more pleasing image it had from its beginnings by highlighting the surrounding natural beauty and slower, relaxed lifestyle. Thus did Phoenix generally thrive by a mix of good fortune, enlightened boosterism, beneficial labor activities, services for visitors, and satisfactory--though not entirely tension-free--relations between varied social groups.Read more ›