- Series: Crown Journeys
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (October 21, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400045401
- ISBN-13: 978-1400045402
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,425,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Blues City: A Walk in Oakland (Crown Journeys) Hardcover – October 21, 2003
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Novelist and critic Reed (The Freelance Pallbearers; Mumbo Jumbo) tours historic districts and homes, and attends parades, festivals and performances, to discover the "many worlds within Oakland," a city with "one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the country... [and where] identities are blurred." Reed's treatment is part homage and part rant (mostly against Mayor Jerry Brown and his "elegant density" plan to gentrify the downtown area with hi-tech businesses). The author has reason to be frustrated: "Classical buildings and traditional landmarks are being leveled and replaced by vertical trailer parks that seem to be thrown up overnight"; but some of his comparisons are a bit extreme, as when he likens the dot-com generation to the exploitative 1849 Gold Rushers: "California has never recovered from the damage caused by these earlier invaders... and their treatment of the California natives must rank as one of the cruelest episodes in human history." The book's best parts come from transcribed interviews, such as author Malcolm Margolies's description of a pre-development Lake Merritt and David Hilliard's stirring Black Panther legacy tour. But Reed's own language vacillates from bland ("I attended the annual Black Cowboy parade. Attendance was up over the previous parade") to venomous ("the black upper class is kept out of sight, lest some white Americans lose their self-esteem, whose foundation is the myth of black inferiority, their psychological Prozac"). This slender volume, while filled with facts, dates and a variety of cultural events, doesn't live up to the "husky and brawling" swagger of the city Reed describes.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Reed, novelist, poet, and longtime Oakland resident, offers an eclectic look at the multicultural city that thrives in the shadow of the better known and celebrated San Francisco. He describes Oakland as "blues city" because of its affinity to labor cities of the Northeast while still maintaining California's physical beauty, famous cultural melange, and political radicals. Reed chronicles his own personal journey to Oakland, by way of New York City and early fame. Fearful of wearing out his welcome--and creative juices--he moved to California. He was attracted by the politics of black power and the literary heritage of Jack London, Bret Harte, and Joaquin Miller. Reed offers a historic overview as well as acerbic commentary on the political and cultural scene of Oakland with celebrations of black cowboys and Native American powwows. He laments a move in politics from the Black Panthers to Jerry Brown's countercultural style, which includes "a brutal capitalist philosophy." Fans of Reed and Oakland will enjoy this engaging book. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Reed has a somewhat muddled view of recent change in Oakland. He clearly despises Jerry Brown and his plans to move people downtown, build redevelopment projects, and bring businesses back to the city. However, Reed cherishes redevelopment projects of the 70s and 80s, such as Jack London Square, Preservation Park, and the Old Oakland district. (If you've been to downtown Oakland, you can judge for yourself whether Brown or Reed's vision of the city is correct.) I definitely get the feeling that if you came to the city after 1999, you are not welcomed or liked by Reed. The Oakland of the '60s, '70s, and '80s was Reed's city, and now that it has changed, Reed is clearly bitter about it.
Altogether though, the book is a pleasant short read for anyone interested in Oakland. It is a fantastic place with lots of cultural and racial diversity. Reed celebrates the city's people in "Blues City," and I couldn't agree with him more.
book, which is strange becuase I read somewhere that is wife is Caucassian. Oakland is a facinating city to visit, one of the most diverse in the world.
I wish he would have done a better job. It's sad that Reed is so out of touch with the times. As one of the original mutli-culturalists, Reed really dosen't
understand multicutluralism. Mutliculturalism is more than "being down with the brothers".
Reed delves into Oakland's past: Bret Harte, Jack London, Bobby Seale and the Black Panthers, Gay Pride uprisings - and into the present with Mayor Jerry Brown who lives along the newly-emerging gentrified waterfront, Yoshi's (the Japanese jazz restaurant and nightclub, the artists and blue-collar workers and the ordinary working stiffs who give the "other" city by the bay its uniqueness.
I've lived here for more than 30 years myself, and I learned a LOT I never knew before.