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Someone Else's House: America's Unfinished Struggle For Integration Paperback – January 7, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition edition (January 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465036260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465036264
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,908,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this detailed history of race relations between blacks and whites in the post-civil rights era, Tamar Jacoby looks at how the ideal of integration has fared since it was first advocated by Martin Luther King, Jr. Blacks have made enormous economic, political, and social progress, and yet integration remains an elusive goal. Jacoby, an experienced journalist whose narrative is well-written and easy to follow, examines the experiences of three cities: Atlanta, Detroit, and New York. She looks at how each has dealt with major racial controversies since the 1960s, including Black Power, racial preferences, and busing. Jacoby considers integration a worthy goal, but criticizes many of the means society has used to reach it. "Devising new strategies will not be easy, but history can guide us, if we know how to listen," she writes. Someone Else's House is perhaps the finest historical account of race relations in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This is a well-documented but gloomy tale of three citiesANew York, Detroit and AtlantaAand their unsuccessful struggle to realize Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of an integrated society. Jacoby, a former editor at the New York Times, puts a great deal of the blame on Mayors John Lindsay, Coleman Young, Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young for what she sees as their faulty though well-intentioned leadership. She argues that Lindsay, a charismatic liberal, thought he could turn New York City in the 1960s into an experimental laboratory for decentralized government, neighborhood empowerment and community control of the public schools. He disappointed the rising expectations of the ghetto poor while antagonizing ethnic whites. Coleman Young, a militant African American, took over in Detroit in the wake of an urban riot, seeking to make the city a working example of black power but increased white flight to the suburbs while leaving a residue of alienated inner-city blacks. In Atlanta, Maynard Jackson took office in the same week in 1973 as Coleman Young, emphasizing "set asides" for black entrepreneurs seeking a share of the white economic pie. Charges of corruption in a process that failed to train rank-and-file minorities to achieve mainstream success along with a rising crime rate and continuing segregation marred the record of the South's first African American big-city mayor. The legacy proved more than his successor, Andrew Young, could overcome. Young's run for governor went down to humiliating defeat, the victim of black indifference as well as white hostility. Jacoby counsels a long road of acculturation rather than short-term government policies, which, she claims, have only exacerbated the situation.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Harper on January 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
"If you can't call a black thug a thug, you're a racist." Newsweek reporter Tamar Jacoby poses the kind of questions that makes well-meaning white liberals flinch. But it is these people, I think, she is trying to prod to finish the work their forebears began so well.
The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s accomplished so much that by the early '70s the goal seemed in sight. Jim Crow was dead, and it must have seemed that one more push would bring America to racial equality.
And we've been stalled on the edge of that dream for more than 30 years now. Busing was a deadly wrong turn. Nothing much since then has panned out. Jacoby wonders if we haven't abandoned the dream altogether. What would Martin Luther King make of our fetish for "diversity" and "multiculturalism"? Can we claim to be honoring his legacy, which had integration (of hearts and minds as well as bodies) as its goal, while we chant new mantras of separationism?
In America today there's bitter resentment against what is seen as "special treatment." About half of whites tell pollsters "blacks could do better if they tried harder."
"Just what accounts for this new resentment is not easy to untangle," writes Jacoby, "but it is not always the same as out-and-out bigotry. A white man who thinks a black woman on welfare should get a job may in fact be responding to her color, voicing an ugly and unthinking assumption about black attitudes toward work. Or he may be reacting to something he didn't like in the racial rhetoric of recent decades: the claim that white society is responsible for the problems blacks face. Thirty-five years of color-coded conflict have taken a huge toll on both sides, and fairly or not the showdown has left many whites embittered.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Tamar Jacoby carefully descibes how the ideals of integration gave way to divisive emphasis on diversity. Her journalistic explaination of public policies from the 60's, 70's and 80's coupled with thought-provoking analysis of their outcome, provides the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the path we've traveled over the past 40 years. I recommend this book to anyone interested in history, public policy and race issues. I think her book is beautifully written.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Andrew D. Kennedy on July 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
...this book was dissapointing.
It tries to be a complication of three "case studies" in racial harmony: New York, Detroit, and Atlanta. While it is surprising that someone who worked for the New York Times (on the editorial page, no less!) would write a book that highlights the failure of liberal policy to further the cause of racial harmony, it lacks cohesiveness & depth. It reads like a bunch of daily newspaper articles loosely stitched together--no foresight, no hindsight. There are detailed accounts of the day-by-day happenings of important events, but very little effort is given to tying these events into the big picture. Indeed, there were times I got very frustrated, because she would take 25-50 pages to explain an event in excruciating detail, then wrap it up with some statement like "But this event wasn't very important anyways."
There are no proper notations, either. The citations are just listed in the appendix, with a general page reference. This is a real shortcoming, as you never know whether or not a given statement will have a citation. If you're using this book for secondary research, beware!
Lastly, there are occasions where the author either contradicts herself, or appears to contradict herself with an ambiguous statement.
My opinion is that the author was well-intentioned, and this is an important subject, but the book fell victim to very poor editting. If more time and effort had been spent in making the book flow better, have greater depth, proper citations, and fewer errors, it (would have been) a lot better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
To summarize, Tamar Jacoby's book is compelling and blatantly honest. Perhaps it is too honest for some people to handle. Race relations and the successes and failures of public policy were analyzed in several US cities. Having grown up in the NY area, I found her take on NY incidents to be insightful and brutallly candid
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T-bone Malone on July 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Growing up in Detroit in the 1970's, I had no concept of what a suburb was until some of my friends started moving out of the city. Their parents moved there primarily for the better schools. Once I started visiting them, I begin to wonder why everything out there was so nice and new, while things in the city were so run down and increasingly blighted. This book provides the best description I've ever read of the events that led to Detroit's demise. I encourage anyone who's interested in the problems of urban America to read this book.
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Someone Else's House: America's Unfinished Struggle For Integration
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