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Turmoil and Transition in Boston: A Political Memoir from the Busing Era

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ISBN-13: 978-0761861829
ISBN-10: 0761861823
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Editorial Reviews

Review

For anyone who is interested in Boston and its politics—and who isn't—this is a must read book. Larry DiCara was not only a close observer of the Boston scene at a time when the city struggled to transform itself into the extraordinary place that it has now become; he played a major role in getting us there. And yet he writes with a remarkable degree of objectivity for one so deeply involved.
(Michael Dukakis)

In this beautifully written account, Larry DiCara and his co-author Chris Black sweep us away on a journey through a generation of Boston's history providing us an intimate portrait of a city in transition from its Brahmin-Irish-Italian past in the 1950s to what is today a wonderfully diverse, booming metropolis. From page one to the last sentence, you will be mesmerized by DiCara's personal story of this tumultuous period in the life of one of America's great cities.
(Barry Bluestone, Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy, Northeastern University)

Larry DiCara's journey is a rich tale of the American Dream in what a true Bostonian knows to be America's greatest city. From the somehow always optimistic struggles of its new immigrants, through the raw divides of the busing era, to its gleaming renaissance, Larry's vivid memory and middle-of-it-all experience offers a behind the curtain history of a public servant always mindful of the proud family that shaped him, and always dedicated to the city whose blue collar blood shapes its sports, its politics, and its people. A great character and player in such an important era for our city helps us relive its highs—and lows—and reminds of the resilience of a great community comes from the resilience of its people.
(John King, chief national correspondent CNN and native of Dorchester)

About the Author

Lawrence S. DiCara, a prominent Boston lawyer and civic leader, was the youngest person ever elected to the Boston City Council.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Hamilton Books (August 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761861823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761861829
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By sobolawyer on October 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Anyone who grew up in Boston in the 70's and remembers Lawrence DiCara on the campaign trail will recognize his voice in these writings, even with a co-author. This readable book is one insider's perspective on much Boston political history, on some of its personalities, as well as on the urban context of its times. It covers much more than just the busing turmoil, being more a story of one man's political and subsequent career over many decades, while a city in decline became a city on the upswing. DiCara's conviction in the end is upbeat, that while the tide of change is inevitable, one man with a vision (a Logue, a White, or a Leventhal) still can make a difference. Perhaps there is still hope for Detroit! This is not, nor should it have been, an in depth analysis of busing. For example, the book fails to take to task the City and state's liberal elites, from politicians like Dukakis to institutions like the Boston Globe (a Boston Globe writer is the co-writer), who with arrogance and indifference made little effort to address legitimate grievances from those caught up in the flawed busing remedy. However, this book does offer those who are Bostonians of more recent vintage an opportunity to understand a little better their new home. And this book offers long time Boston residents who lived through that period another chance to revisit the past, good times and bad.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vin on May 13, 2014
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A brilliantly well written accurate historical and personal perspective of Boston during one of it's most trying and turbulent periods in history. This book now holds a prominent place in my library. Having been involved in a city-wide collaborative that included the business, college, and high schools, I've always held deep appreciation for the contributions the author made in building the foundation for these collaborative organizations to work effectively. He is visionary and truly inspirational.
I recommend this book, without reservation, for all who are proud of their heritage and have a keen sense of civic pride, regardless of where they reside.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jon on September 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A memoir, DiCara leads the reader through a fascinating period in recent history when Boston's leaders and citizens tackled myriad issues - social, economic and global - to help shape the city into what it is today. A great read for anyone interested in politics, economic development, civil rights or an American city.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Corrigan on December 27, 2013
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I lived in Boston up until 1980 and am familiar with the period that Larry chronicles. He does it well with one major exception. DiCara overlooks or underplays a raft of progressive community organizing that took place in the seventies and afterwards; but after all it is a memoir, not a history, whose purpose is to focus on Larry and his contributions to the city.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jack on January 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Larry DiCara might be the most appropriate guy to tell the story of the history of Boston politics during the last quarter of the 20th Century. Larry was one of the smartest and most thoughtful guys on the political scene during that time. In my mind, one thing that made Larry special (and very different from most of the local pols) was his lack of ego - While he was certainly ambitious, he always had his ego in check and always had a good balance between getting elected and doing the right thing. Larry also has a better memory than anyone I ever met - if he met you, he remembers you, what you talked about, your family, etc. These traits are displayed in Turmoil and Transition.

It is that special combination of Larry's experience, knowledge, personality and memory that makes Turmoil and Transition such a good read - particularly for anyone interested in urban politics, Boston and the assimilation of immigrants. Larry shares his seat the table as Boston is transformed into a world class city over three decades. From my perspective as somebody who was there through much of it, Turmoil and Transition is a very accurate and fair portrait of the city at that time. Larry delivers it with self-effacing humor.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ken Gloss on October 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable book about Boston and Boston politics from an inside perspective. This book should be read by and taught to anyone who is interested in running or studying political office. Although this is a great political history of Boston from the 1970s on,its lessons could be currently applied to politics anywhere in the US. A fascinating study on many levels. It should be a must read for everyone in the political spectrum and those interested in Boston history.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bob F on November 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of people Larry DiCara has mentored over the years - myself included - Turmoil and Transition provides an insight into parts of his life and career that weave a much more complex picture than we'd witnessed. For those who have never worked with Larry, it's an interesting story of a working class kid who goes from paperboy to Harvard to the Boston City Council, the characters he encounters along the way and the tradeoffs and sacrifices of a career in politics. For students of Boston politics, just being brought back to the busing struggle and the Kevin White era from an insider's perspective alone makes this a must-read.

A surprising and meaningful memoir from one of the exceptional personalities of Boston politics.
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