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Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starting in 2007, Benjamin, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan think tank Demos, and, more significantly, an African-American, spent two years traveling through America's whitest communities—patches of Idaho and Utah and even pockets of New York City—where, according to his research, more and more white people have been seeking refuge from the increasingly multicultural reality that is mainstream America. There's plenty of potential in this premise, but Benjamin writes without any sense of purpose, alternating between undigested interviews with policy experts, self-indulgent digressions on the pleasures of golf and real estate shopping and sketchy portraits of his subjects. Despite Benjamin's countless conversations with everyone from Ed Gillespie, former head of the GOP, to a drunk in an Idaho bar, he never offers any fresh insights or practical suggestions. He concludes by barraging the reader with a series of unearned musts: we must revitalize the public sector, we must work hard for a new universalism. If his time in the nation's whitest enclaves gave him any specific thoughts about how those ideals might be achieved, he would have done well to share them. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
"It sounds like a recipe for a riot: an inquisitive black writer journeying into some of the most segregated neighborhoods in the country. But Benjamin...pulls off his quest with good cheer."―Time
"[Benjamin] offers in the end a chilling vision of the future for progressive values."―Daily Kos
"Benjamin examines the history, politics, economics, and culture of race and class as seen in the growth of these `whitopias,' racially and therefore socioeconomically exclusive communities from the exurb St. George, Utah to the inner-city enclave of Carnegie Hill in Manhattan. . . . This is a thoroughly engaging and eye-opening look at an urgent social issue."―Booklist starred review
"The revelatory chapters about New York City made me want to cry . . . Generous and understanding to all of its subjects, Searching for Whitopia is a eulogy for an unsustainable America lifestyle."―Christian Lander, creator of Stuff White People Like
"A courageous book that holds a mirror up to our country--and the reflection is one we can no longer afford to ignore."―David Sirota, author and syndicated columnist
"Rich Benjamin's Searching for Whitopia will be a major publication, widely read and discussed. Its influence is likely to be enduring."―Andrew Ross, author of The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney's New Town
"I've always found it easy to dismiss exurban gated communities, so it didn't bother me too much when Rich Benjamin showed them in a less than flattering light, but the revelatory chapters about New York City made me want to cry. . . . Generous and understanding to all of its subjects, Searching for Whitopia is a eulogy for an unsustainable lifestyle that flies in the face of a changing America."―Christian Lander, creator of Stuff White People Like
"An essential tool in questioning, appreciating and better understanding these most historic times. As we move forward in a brand new America, Rich Benjamin's Searching for Whitopia gives us clues as to how our population might resettle and regroup, on our way to becoming a more (or less) perfect union."―Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and Brother, I'm Dying
"Rich Benjamin goes where no (sane) black man has gone before -- into the palest enclaves, like Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, to those places where white Americans have fled to escape from the challenges of diversity. The result is a daring feat of 21st-century exploration that will have you laughing and shuddering at the same time."―Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America
"An account of a black man's journey through the whitest communities of America is bound to be thought-provoking, especially when the voyager is as observant and articulate as Rich Benjamin. A very entertaining read with a message worth pondering."―Robert D. Putnam, professor of public policy, Harvard, and author of Bowling Alone
"Exploring the identity, inhabitants, and social and political implications of...small towns...is the premise of Benjamin's provocative new book."―The Daily Beast --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.