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The Dallas Myth: The Making and Unmaking of an American City Hardcover – June 18, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1St Edition edition (June 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816652694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816652693
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,134,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Harvey Graff begins by telling us that living in Dallas challenged all that he knew about cities. This richly-researched and beautifully-written book does the same for the rest of us. Its provocative historical analysis of space, growth, economics, politics, culture, and memory offers an uncommonly lucid account of inequality, segregation, and their denial." —Ira Katznelson, author of When Affirmative Action Was White

"The Dallas Myth is an entertaining and meditative reflection on history and the imagination, written with the clear, grounded intelligence of a leading historian at the top of his game." —Michael Frisch, author of Portraits in Steel

"The Dallas Myth is a terrific book—bold, persuasive, and important. ... It is interesting how Dallas emerges with a personality, almost like a character in a story." —Michael B. Katz
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Harvey J. Graff is Ohio Eminent Scholar in Literacy Studies and professor of English and history at The Ohio State University. He is the author of numerous books on urban studies, literacy, and the history of children and adolescence, including The Legacies of Literacy: Continuities and Contradictions in Western Culture and Society, The Labyrinths of Literacy: Reflections on Literacy Past and Present, and Conflicting Paths: Growing Up in America.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Grey Osterud on September 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am certainly biased, but I love this book. It's not a conventional history of a city, but a perceptive analysis of contemporry American society in urban form. Graff reveals the underside of glitzy Dallas and goes on to show how the city's myth works to obscures the inequalities that shape this sprawling, segregated, suburbanized metropolis. Like Mike Davs's City of Quartz, a study of LA as postmodern America, this book delivers more than it promises. Read it, and you'll see skyscrapers, freeways, and city spaces in amazing new ways, wherever you go.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By farington on August 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because lately I've been visiting Dallas quite a bit for work. I always like to read up on the history and social and cultural currents of places I spend time in.

To put it simply, this is a badly written book. The author has about three or four ideas that he repeats incessantly. For the most part he doesn't develop them, he just repeats them. He seems to feel the need to reiterate them in opening and closing paragraphs of almost every section. It begins to seem like the entire book is nothing but a prologue for another book which will actually put some meat on these thematic bare bones. Even as far along in the text as page 94 he's still announcing what the book is supposed to prove (though he's announced it more than once by that point): "This book explicates..." You'd think that by that time he'd already have been "explicating" whatever he had to explicate. Actually, to quote the entire sentence: "This book explicates the intricate interrelationships between the mythology and ideology of Dallas's rise and achievement, expressed in its symbols and identity, on the one hand, and the creation, operation, and maintenance of an elite-dominated growth machine and its center of power, on the other." This kind of dry and overworked technocratic prose is the rule in this book. If you were to cut out the redundancy, this book would be less than half its current length. If it were written more like a narrative and less like a government report, it would be far more engaging.

That's not to say it's lacking in raw material: it appears well researched and it has copious end notes.
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