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Kansas City and How It Grew, 1822-2011 Hardcover – November 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (November 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700618821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700618828
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is a wonderful synthesis and excellent piece of scholarship which is also quite readable from a general reader’s perspective. It should add greatly to a broader understanding of the historical development of the cities and region. . . . A huge contribution to the literature of Kansas City’s fascinating history.” --William S. Worley, author of J.C. Nichols and the Shaping of Kansas City

“A well-written and readable volume that will be a major asset to the literature of Kansas City history.” --David Boutros, Assistant Director, State Historical Society of Missouri

About the Author

James R. Shortridge is a professor of geography at the University of Kansas, and author of five previous books including Cities on the Plains: The Evolution of Urban Kansas and The Middle West: Its Meaning in American Culture, winner of the American Association of Geographers’ John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. McGill on June 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Using geography as his organizing principle, Professor Shortridge has written a comprehensive analysis of the Kansas City metropolitan area. This is a model of what should be written about every major metro area in America. I am originally from St. Louis, and I have searched far and wide for something comparable for that city, to no avail. Having visited Kansas City two years ago, and reading a half dozen books in advance, I was left with many questions about what I saw--why it developed in the way it did, how it managed to avoid some of the devastating decline that hit St. Louis, seeds of its revitalization. Professor Shortridge answered every single one of my questions.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joel Goldman on April 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How Kansas City Grew is a well written, well researched book that tells Kansas City's story. I enjoyed Dr. Shortridge's perspective as a geographer, particularly since geography was destiny for Kansas City, as it always has been for how every city, town and village grew or didn't. As a fourth generation Kansas Citian, I enjoyed learning so much about my home town.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an incredibly detailed story of Kansas City's rise and fall. Sometimes the detail was quite impressive; I especially loved his use of maps to show social and racial transitions among Kansas City's neighborhoods and suburbs. For example, one map shows that in 1920, no city ward was more than 20 percent foreign born- a precursor to today's city, which seems dominated by blacks and WASPs rather than by a variety of European ethnic groups (like some other Rust Belt cities) or Hispanics.

On the negative side, sometimes he spends a lot of space things that I think aren't that important (such as individual building projects). On the other hand, And I am surprised that he doesn't mention public transit at all (especially since light rail has been a controversial issue in recent years).

Shortridge explains why Kansas City is where it is: in the mid 19th-century the Missouri River made it a good place for river-oriented trade, and Kansas City was lucky enough to get good railroad service. Until the Civil War Westport (now a city neighborhood) was a potential regional power; however, Westport's economy was based on trade with Indians, and as Indians moved west, Westport declined.

Natural disasters also played a significant role in the city's evolution; a fire destroyed much of Westport in 1859 and thus made it a less promising rival. Disasters have also affected where the city grew; the West Bottoms was an important part of the city in the 19th century, but 20th-century flooding made it less important over time.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Annie on January 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The only problem with this book is the size of the print. The recepient was planning on using reading glasses for sure.
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By Larry W. South on November 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent Amazonian dealer!
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