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City on the Edge: Buffalo, New York, 1900 - present Paperback – March 30, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Such large-scale thinking - and the disasters that regularly accompanies same -- abounds in "City on the edge." Having read Diana Dillaway's (2006), more academic "Power failure," and, just recently, Goldman's 1990 prequel, "City on the lake," "City on the edge" provided a dark, rich third part of this sad trilogy. Some of "Edge" draws heavily from "Lake;" read both and you'll see a lot of overlap. And there is good reason: To understand Buffalo's perilous position today, Goldman takes us back over one hundred years to the pivotal events at the turn of the twentieth century in Buffalo - the assassination of President McKinley and the building of the Lackawanna (later Bethlehem) steel plant. From that death and those new industrial roots Buffalo prospered and led the industrial triumphs of the United States in the twentieth century, with steel and autos, war production and cereal, aircraft and chemicals. The city boomed during the war years and suffered much during the Depression.
In Buffalo, the creative culture prospered, especially music and art.Read more ›
Mark Goldman's chronicle of Buffalo through the twentieth century is indeed a page turner. The fact that we know the outcome makes each step of the journey the harder the bear, because the reader knows that it is the wrong step, and the tendency to cry out "What were you thinking?" pervades this work throughout. In many instances Goldman's analyses of "what they were thinking" are clear and brilliant. He covers a wide range of the city's life and how the mistakes of one quadrant interfaced with those of another to create the mosaic of wreckage that stands today. The author tends to go overboard with the cultural arts, and he virtually ignores the Catholic Church, Erie County, and the Mob, [apologies for the juxtapositions], forces of considerable influence upon the city. But on the whole, he tells a compelling and moving story.
If the City of Buffalo is jinxed, as some believe, the curse may have been incanted between 1895 and 1900, when city fathers welcomed Pennsylvania's Walter Scranton, President of Lackawanna Steel, to set up shop along a massive tract of prime waterfront property.Read more ›
This book takes a look at how Buffalo has come to be where it is now. The history really starts at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. At that time, the future looked good for Buffalo. Manufacturing and shipping were mainstays of the economy; the Exposition promised a great deal of visibility. But, as with later events, the promise had counterpoint in misfortune, such as President McKinley's assassination, the economic failure of the Exposition, and so on.
The book spends time on the growth and glory days of Buffalo. But the current realities are set in motion later on, in the 1960s, 1970s, and thereafter. Key problems facing Buffalo were a set of ethnic political leaders who played by "old politics," the politics of favoritism, of patronage. I don't know how true this is, but a friend of mine once worked for the city at a club for kids. As part of her purview, she was responsible for a swimming pool. The local political "boss" made sure that sons and daughters of party favorites got jobs as lifeguards, some of whom could not swim. True?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Goldman writes with authority and passion. Pop culture put-downs of the city have it all wrong. Goldman shows us that Buffalo is a fascinating and dramatic place. Read morePublished 9 months ago by James MacKillop
Well written and well researched. This is helpful for current residents and challenging to those who might consider investing in the area. Thanks Mark for your efforts.Published 15 months ago by Jo Anne Brocklehurst
Great book. Rich with context, Goldman walks the reader from the Pan Am Expo through to present day Buffalo. Goldman's perspective is gritty, and he tells it like it is. Or was. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Christine E. Pyne
Mark Goodman provides valuable information and insight on Buffalo's decline. I was born and raised in the Allentown Section and my family still owns a home there. Read morePublished on November 1, 2010 by Ronald E. Robinson