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Comment: GOOD - This is a hurt hardcover book with some tearing, scuffing, bumping, creasing and a torn dust jacket. Still, it is fully usable and the flaws are only cosmetic.
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Our Town: Race, Housing, and the Soul of Suburbia Hardcover – January 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Beginning with the development of Camden, New Jersey, the authors, professors of public policy and law (Univ. of California-Berkeley), examine the politics of land-use regulation and its impact on poor and black residents. It becomes abundantly clear why urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s was frequently called "Negro removal." Their analysis focuses on the legal battle that developed as suburban development threatened black and poor residents of the nearby community of Mount Laurel. The Mount Laurel cases are traced through state and federal courts and assessed in terms of their encouragement of fair housing policies and discouragement of exclusionary zoning. This book is rich in detail and offers important insights into the politics of urban development and its impact on poorer residents. It will be invaluable to specialists in urban studies and planning and a fascinating read for others knowledgeable about urban politics and civil rights.
William Waugh Jr., Georgia State Univ., Atlanta
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

A wellûwritten, exhaustively researched account of the legal battle to open New JerseyÆs suburbs to the poor . . . The authors actually took the time to talk to the lawyers and litigants on both sides of the controversy. Their chronicle of the legal developments is informed, and much improved, by the fleshûandûblood stories of those who actually lived the case. . . . a cautionary and inspiring tale.
(Philadelphia Inquirer)

This book is both an inspiring account of public interest law at its best and a sobering assessment of how æthe soul of suburbiaæ continues to resist social justice. . . . an unexpectedly moving account of hope, idealism, and intelligence.
(New York Times Book Review)

The authors of Our Town in particular enable readers to see historical continuity and discontinuity in legal and popular discussions of race, racism, and housing patterns in American society. Our Town also explores the challenges to public policy raised by the existence of residential segregation patterns.
(Nation)

[This book] is valuable both as a case study of judicial activism and its consequences and as a detailed analysis of suburban attitudes regarding race, class, and property.
(Urban Affairs Review)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813522536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813522531
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,029,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By katydaly@aol.com on February 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Our Town" is a poignant and powerful legal thriller. This is perhaps a surprising way to characterize a work by UCal, Berkeley policy wonks, published by one of the lesser known university presses, but this book deserves the widest possible readership. It tells the epic, heroic, heart-rending, and true story of the attempt to bring fair housing policy to New Jersey, the most suburban state in the country, and by extension, the most representative of American housing trends. It tells the story of an attempt by the African-American community of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey - a community whose origins date back to the colonial period - to create affordable housing in what was then, in 1968, a largely rural, white township of southern New Jersey. In response to thier request for the necesary zoning approval, the then mayor of Mt. Laurel (and wealthy farmer and late state senator) William Haines told the black community of Mt. LAurel: "if you people cannot afford to live in our town, then you will have to move." (this is a quotation from memory). The legals battles that followed over the next 25 years were epochal for New Jersey and for the country. This story is an epic (not unlike Jonathan Harr's book about the toxic wazste dumps in Massachusetts, A Civil Action) with genuine heroes such as Ethel Lawrence , the black New Jersey woman who led the fight, and even NJ supreme court justices who saw through the racism of Mt Laurel officials and the subtler but equally insidious intransigence of NJ governor Thomas Kean, who, for my money, is the worst villain of the lot. (I am, by the way, a New Jerseyan myself).Everyone who care about racial justice in America should find this book worthwhile. For an essentialy academic study, it is astonishingly moving. I read it in hardcover, when it first came out, mainly because I was attracted by its stylish cover, but it is the kind of book I actively recommend to my friends and family.
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