From Publishers Weekly
The drama of 20th-century American race relations played itself out, Polikoff contends, in two theaters: in the South through the Civil Rights movement and in the North through the struggle over housing segregation. This text traces almost 40 years of the latter drama through Gautreaux
v. CHA and HUD
, the landmark Chicago public housing suit brought on behalf of underprivileged black families seeking housing outside of the predominantly black ghetto. Polikoff, who successfully argued the case locally and federally, bookends his memoir with reflections on the history of race relations from Reconstruction to Clinton. But the heart of the book rests with Gautreaux's endless legal maneuvering and policy implications. Polikoff occasionally gets bogged down in legal analysis—even the most dedicated lay reader will probably have a difficult time with the nuances of his climactic Supreme Court victory. Far more often, though, Polikoff provides just enough insight and detail to keep the text fresh and engaging. He moves seamlessly between broad topics—like the phone "lottery" for Gautreaux program housing—and vivid anecdotes, including one woman's joyful, minutes-long laughter upon winning in that lottery. Polikoff animates his story with humanity and intelligence, often transcending memoir to provide an indispensable addition to the history of civil rights in the United States. (Jan.)
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"This is an inspiring and fascinating book. The story of Alex Polikoff and his forty-year crusade to bring the constitutional promise of equality to public housing is dramatic evidence that lawyers--and the law--can still be a force for progress in the United States." --Scott Turow
"Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the dream of integration. Not Alex Polikoff. In <i>Waiting for Gautreaux</i> he tells the compelling story of his personal quest for fairness and openness in housing. Both moving and informative this is history as it should be. Polikoff is a modern-day hero." --Alex Kotlowitz
"With the same thoroughness and tenacity he demonstrated in the lawsuit, Alex Polikoff traces the ups and downs of the Gautreaux litigation. If you want to understand the past, present, and future of public housing in this country, you need to read <i>Waiting for Gautreaux.</i>" --Abner J. Mikva, Former Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit