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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No one likes a tattle tale- Not Naming Names Broadens Appeal., April 6, 2006
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This review is from: Power Failure: Politics, Patronage, And the Economic Future of Buffalo, New York (Hardcover)
This extensively documented study reads well because it does not bog down in petty name calling, and because of the incredible access to which she seems to have been afforded. The only people who could tell their story did so with the urgency of a tale that is not singular to Buffalo; but rather, every industrial northern city of any importance has experienced some version of this story. Only the names change, and that is why I take 180 degree exception to the review that Amazon uses at the head of their review section.

This is a story that reminds me of the pompous belief in outmoded strategies used in "The Last Charge of the Light Brigade". Namely, the unwillingness to recognize the changes that were accelerating all around Buffalo's leadership in the latter half of the 20th Century. These failures, coupled with the paralyzing mistrust between the very ethnic groups that had powered the emergence of the Great Lakes region into a capitalist engine that is unparalleled in world history. This could be Flint, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Duluth, Gary, Toledo, or Chicago; no one escaped unscathed.

The beauty of this book is that the convergence of these influences, along with the burdensome tax structure of the Empire State and the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway serve to amplify the mis-steps which in ANY other case study would remain unknown, here are detailed. WASP culture is notorious for its efficiency in denial and obfuscation when fault is being meted out. The stories of all these other cities bear mute witness to that fact.

The mystery unravels in page turning fascination, as one extrapolates to the particulars of all the different stories of woe and blindside in post-industrialist America. All of which had been, heretofore, unapologetically unexplained; like the hushed absences of the crazy uncles at Thanksgiving dinner. This in mind, with the depth of corroboration, I think the author treats her home town with almost touching dignity by not slagging anyone by name. The names are, in fact, quite available in the public record, and quite obviously described for those who must take their pound of flesh.

In the words of the Dead Kennedy's, "This Could Be Anywhere!"' and it's a tragically American story.

-ted.o
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