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A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home (Occupied Media Pamphlet Series) Paperback – August 13, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Columbia Journalism Review
"Gottesdiener’s book is a welcome, mortgage-edition proof for Faulkner’s line that the past isn’t dead. It's not even past ... The footnotes alone are worth the price of the book."

Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple
"I’m spreading the word about Laura Gottesdiener’s FINE book wherever I go and wherever I am. [It's] a wonderful book."

Marc Lamont Hill, Huffinton Post Live
"An incredible book…a great set of stories being told here…and more importantly, a powerful narrative about the relationship between black people and ownership"

Johanna Fernandez professor in the Department of History at Baruch College
“From the time of their capture in Africa, through Emancipation and the Great Migration, to the national economic and housing crisis of today, people of African descent in the United States have been defined by their search for home. Using the dreams and aspirations of four families as her point of departure, Laura Gottesdiener narrates a beautifully crafted story about predatory lending, foreclosure abuse, the racial politics of home ownership, and the brave struggles launched by African American communities to keep their dignities and their homes. She demonstrates that amidst the greatest housing crisis the nation has seen, the current struggle among African Americans for economic equality is forcing upon our nation a redefinition of American freedom, one that challenges us to reconsider the fundamental flaw in our national security: the market-driven character of housing. With great humanity and solidarity for those on the front lines of this epic battle, Gottesdiener offers a compelling political analysis, and a way forward in a time of national crisis. A Dream Foreclosed is a powerful, impressive and page-turning testimony that ordinary people can fight back and win.”

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! and New York Times bestselling author
"It's a really incredible book"

Naomi Klein , author of The Shock Doctrine
"Compelling and lucidly told stories a.... A riveting book."

Ralph Nader
"A Dream Foreclosed is a powerful combination of riveting stories about four defrauded families and their fight back together with the broader documentation of Wall Street's corporate crimes that crashed the economy. Laura Gottesdiener, a veteran of Occupy Wall Street, has the acute eye and pen of a young progressive star with extraordinary talent. Her pages should grip you with motivational indignation."

Russell Mokhiber, Corporate Crime Reporter
"A remarkable book that hits hard against the big Wall Street banks."

Tim Wise, author of many books including Colorblind and Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority
"A brilliant and needed narrative by an insightful and inspiring author."

Noam Chomsky
“The legislation to rescue the perpetrators of the current financial crisis included provisions for limited compensation to their victims. No need to tarry on which part of the bargain has been fulfilled. The bare statistics on foreclosures are shattering enough. But the enormity of the crime strikes home vividly in the heart-rending accounts of those who are brutally thrown out of their modest homes — for African Americans particularly, almost all they have — then survive in the streets, struggle on, and sometimes even regain something of what was stolen from them thanks to the courageous and inspiring work of the home liberation activists, now reinforced by the Occupy movement. All recounted with historical depth and analytic insight in this most valuable study.”

Linn Washington, author of Black Judges on Justice, Perspectives from the Bench
“Americans need the stories in this book: inspiring resistance to the serialized corporate crimes that crush not only ‘Dreams’ but the capacity to thrive beyond subsistence.”

Clarence Lusane, author of The Black History of the White House
“...[a] brilliant discourse on the battle over home and community by African Americans... [w]e owe Gottesdiener a great debt for her research and powerful argument that permeates A Dream Foreclosed. ... Gottesdiener’s effort here is a much needed and welcomed counter-weight. She takes sides in this battle and gives voice to those who are rarely if ever heard.”

TomDispatch
"Gottesdiener’s new book, A Dream Foreclosed, is a people’s history of the financial crisis that jolted this country and has never ended. It has been hailed by Naomi Klein as “riveting” and Noam Chomsky as a “most valuable study... with historical depth and analytical insight.”

Mumia Abu-Jamal , Counterpunch
A Dream Foreclosed finds beauty amidst immense pain and suffering—the beauty of people continuing to fight back against rapacious banks, the politicians they buy and the lawyers they hire. It is a work both beautiful and terrible that deserves to be read by many.”

Danny Schechter, Al Jazeera
A new book by Laura Gottesdiener, A Dream Foreclosed offers deeper context in the socio-economic effects of the housing crash. She shows how foreclosures have devastated America's black community while banks profit. Incredulously, nearly every African American has seen their income decrease - all under the watch of our first black president. She offers first person reports on the trauma and tragedies of families who bought homes with deceptive loans offered by hustlers and conmen who knew they would not be able to afford their payments but sold the properties anyway. These are the people who made large fees from subprime loans even when borrowers qualified for lower interest loans. Her reporting from the frontlines of this battle humanises the issues and highlights the injustices that most of the business media glosses over. Her insights conflicts with the president's, most of the media and the banks. "We've already tried policies that benefit Wall Street and massive corporations, and all we've ended up with is more financial consolidation, speculation and criminal activity," she concludes.

Eleanor J. Bador, Truthout
"An invaluable introduction to a system that has booted more than 10 million US residents out of their homes since 2007."

About the Author

Laura Gottesdiener is a journalist, author and social justice activist living in Brooklyn. She has written for Rolling Stone, Ms. magazine, The Arizona Republic, The New Haven Advocate, The Huffington Post and other publications. She won the John Hersey Prize at Yale University for a body of journalistic work and was a national finalist for the Norman Mailer Nonfiction Award for her 2009 investigation of girls' wrestling. She has been an active community organizer in the Occupy movement and lived in Zuccotti Park from early October 2011 until the NYPD raid of November 15, 2011. "A Dream Foreclosed "is her first book.
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Product Details

  • Series: Occupied Media Pamphlet Series
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zuccotti Park Press (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884519210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884519215
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #741,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could not stop reading A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home (Occupied Media Pamphlet Series). It opens with a battering ram coming through a family's door at the start of an eviction. To me, the book stayed that powerful throughout. This is a book of sharp analysis based on powerful narratives told brilliantly by Laura Gottesdiener--focused on four families caught in the foreclosure chaos created in large part by the recent mortgage crisis. The stories of these families, and their efforts to fight through a crisis that should not have hit them, are impossible to stop reading. This is thrilling story-telling that makes the reader feel, painfully, the experience of being captured by predatory lending and other forces that drive people from their homes. (Although I've had the good luck to read Laura Gottesdiener's work since 2008, when she enrolled in a Yale course I teach, I believe every reader will find this book, her first, utterly gripping.) These are harrowing stories--and thrilling ones because they do not end in despair--that will change how people understand the mortgage crisis and its ugly impact on America.
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By Boston Mom on August 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After the seemingly myriad books on the housing crisis written from the perspective of banks, investment banks, and hedge funds, who wagered billions of dollars on a heads we win, tails you lose playing field, finally an author has demonstrated the courage to shine a spotlight on the real victims of the housing crisis. Dream is a thoughtful, thought provoking, and sensitive narrative about real people and how they were manipulated and exploited by the casino that wall street created out of the U.S. housing marketplace.
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Format: Paperback
Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, A Dream Foreclosed provides a wrenching examination of the foreclosure crisis, focusing on both high-level decisions and their on the ground, human consequences. As a writer, Gottesdiener is notable for the clarity with which she analyzes complicated (often times deliberately so) financial arrangements, and the boldness with which she highlights the systematic racism running through American housing and lending practices. This book is an essential read for anyone who cares about these issues. It will make you angry, but it will also inspire you.
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Well written and researched.
I appreciated the purity of the dialect or "Black Speak".
It touched me deeply.
I new the surface story, (even was a victim of foreclosure myself) but was deeply moved by Laura's the story telling. I really got the depth of despair, fear and boundless courage and strength of the many many families that survived this awful hoax played on ...a generation of, mostly, African American families.

Sadly, the crime was committed, and yet we still have not seen the ones that perpetrated the crime punished properly.
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Timely and compelling, A Dream Foreclosed announces the arrival of a powerful new force in American journalism. Gottesdiener's writing and message rings as clearly as the Liberty Bell. She is at her best telling the stories of individual Americans struggling to make ends meet and find home and security; A Dream Foreclosed also tackles the origin and unfolding of the great decline in housing prices, from Wall Street securitization to foreclosures on the houses of non-performing borrowers.

I found the book thoroughly researched, expertly crafted, and elegantly written. That Gottesdiener could put together this tour de force debut given her relative youth -- only 28 years old! -- is a powerful testament to her talent and potential. If you're looking for a summer read, A Dream Foreclosed should be at the top of your list: it will be one of the hottest housing crisis narratives of 2013. Don't miss out!
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By Emma on September 20, 2013
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This book is beautifully written, not to mention meticulously reported, researched, and structured. Gottesdiener's compassion and eye for individual stories and broad narratives will leave you wanting more.
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A Dream Foreclosed is the story of four families who had their homes stolen and their lives ruined by unscrupulous banks. What sets these victims apart is they fought back and won with the help of their community. It is an inspiring story of what can happen when people fight back against predatory capitalism.

The most heartbreaking part of the book is Martha Biggs family’s desperate struggle to find a place for her family to stay after they were forced out of their homes. It’s amazing how resilient she and her children are. Her daughter’s suicide attempt thankfully did not succeed but the psychic scars are still there. Despite their final triumph the family remained wary. If sociopathic bankers can ruin people’s lives so easily without punishment there’s no reason they won’t try again. And if they don’t succeed here they surely will elsewhere, unless we stop them.

Gottesdiener documents numerous schemes banks employ such as not cashing mortgage payments and then claiming the borrower has defaulted on the loan, or targeting black churches to peddle subprime loans. They shamelessly sent a black women to make the pitch to the congregation, knowing that they won’t believe a white banker. Unfortunately many listened to the black woman. It’s easy to condemn her but many people have to degrade themselves to make living in our capitalist system.

A Dream Foreclosed is a celebration of heroes and condemnation of greedy bankers, hedge fund managers and corrupt politicians of both parties who enable them.
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