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The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America Hardcover – May 2, 2017

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,064 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A powerful and disturbing history of residential segregation in America . . . One of the great strengths of Rothstein’s account is the sheer weight of evidence he marshals. . . . While the road forward is far from clear, there is no better history of this troubled journey than ‘The Color of Law.’”
- David Oshinsky, New York Times Book Review

“Masterful…The Rothstein book gathers meticulous research showing how governments at all levels long employed racially discriminatory policies to deny blacks the opportunity to live in neighborhoods with jobs, good schools and upward mobility.”
- Jared Bernstein, Washington Post

“Essential…Rothstein persuasively debunks many contemporary myths about racial discrimination….Only when Americans learn a common―and accurate―history of our nation’s racial divisions, he contends, will we then be able to consider steps to fulfill our legal and moral obligations. For the rest of us, still trying to work past 40 years of misinformation, there might not be a better place to start than Rothstein’s book.”
- Rachel M. Cohen, Slate

“Rothstein’s work should make everyone, all across the political spectrum, reconsider what it is we allow those in power to do in the name of 'social harmony' and 'progress' with more skepticism…The Color of Law shows what happens when Americans lose their natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or in the case of African-Americans, when there are those still waiting to receive them in full.”
- Carl Paulus, American Conservative

“Virtually indispensable… I can only implore anyone interested in understanding the depth of the problem to read this necessary book.”
- Don Rose, Chicago Daily Observer

“Original and insightful…The central premise of [Rothstein’s] argument…is that the Supreme Court has failed for decades to understand the extent to which residential racial segregation in our nation is not the result of private decisions by private individuals, but is the direct product of unconstitutional government action. The implications of his analysis are revolutionary.”
- Geoffrey R. Stone, author of Sex and the Constitution

“Rothstein’s comprehensive and engrossing book reveals just how the U.S. arrived at the ‘systematic racial segregation we find in metropolitan areas today,’ focusing in particular on the role of government. . . . This compassionate and scholarly diagnosis of past policies and prescription for our current racial maladies shines a bright light on some shadowy spaces.”
- Publishers Weekly [starred review]

“Through meticulous research and powerful human stories, Rothstein reveals a history of racism hiding in plain sight and compels us to confront the consequences of the intentional, decades-long governmental policies that created a segregated America.”
- Sherrilyn A. Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

“Masterful…Rothstein documents the deep historical roots and the continuing practices in law and social custom that maintain a profoundly un-American system holding down the nation’s most disadvantaged citizens.”
- Thomas B. Edsall, author of The Age of Austerity

“This wonderful, important book could not be more timely…With its clarity and breadth, the book is literally a page-turner.”
- Florence Roisman, William F. Harvey Professor of Law, Indiana University

About the Author

Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He lives in California, where he is a Fellow of the Haas Institute at the University of California–Berkeley.

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Color of Law
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