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Tally's Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men (Legacies of Social Thought Series) 2nd Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0742528963
ISBN-10: 0742528960
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Tally's Corner is an important book for anyone seeking to understand America. (Herbert Gans, author of Democracy and the News)

Whenever and wherever people come out of the dark to face the shadow of America's befuddled relation to the Black man of the city, Tally's Corner is somewhere on the penumbra of consciousness, serving as a lifeline against the currents of ill-informed racist blather about urban poverty. . . . The story of the Black man of the city is ultimately the story of the modern city itself, and in turn of the postmodern global economy. It is a story that is nowhere near its final chapter. (Charles Lemert, Andrus Professor of Sociology, Wesleyan University)

From Reviews of the First Edition: Elliot Liebow is an honest and talented anthropologist who can see clearly, feel unashamedly, and write a straight lively sentence. His book, Tally's Corner . . . emerges as a valuable and even surprising triumph. ―Sunday New York Times This is a sharp, hard-hitting observation of a segment of life and society in action. ―Washington Star Nothing short of brilliant―a work of importance ―Daniel Patrick Moynihannnn

The true mark of a classic book is whether it can withstand the test of time. [Liebow's] arguments concerning the work experience and family life of black street-corner men in a Washington, D.C. ghetto still ring true today. . . . In the last three decades, low-skilled African-American males have encountered greater difficulty gaining access to jobs, even menial jobs. (William Julius Wilson, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University)

From Reviews of the First Edition:Elliot Liebow is an honest and talented anthropologist who can see clearly, feel unashamedly, and write a straight lively sentence. His book, Tally's Corner . . . emerges as a valuable and even surprising triumph.―Sunday New York TimesThis is a sharp, hard-hitting observation of a segment of life and society in action.―Washington StarNothing short of brilliant―a work of importance―Daniel Patrick Moynihan

It's a remarkable book, an academic work - it grew out of Liebow's doctoral thesis - that isn't dry or boring. It's an in-depth look at a group of men who routinely hung out on a Washington street corner in the early 1960s. These are poor men, flawed men, unemployed and underemployed men. But they are treated with respect. And although Liebow used pseudonyms, giving the men such names as Tally, Sea Cat, Richard and Leroy, they come across as flesh-and-blood individuals. When Tally's Corner was published in 1967, the New York Times called it "a valuable and even surprising triumph." The late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) called it "nothing short of brilliant." (The Washington Post)

The first edition of Tally's Corner, a sociological classic, was the first compelling response to the culture of poverty thesis_hat the poor are different and, according to conservatives, morally inferior—and alternative explanations that many African Americans are caught in a tangle of pathology owing to the absence of black men in families. William Julius Wilson's new introduction to this long-awaited revised edition bring the book up to date.

About the Author

Elliot Liebow (1925-1994) served as chief of the Center for the Study of Work and Mental Health of the National Institute of Mental Health. Liebow wrote Tally's Corner as his Ph.D. dissertation at the Catholic University of America. He also published Tell Them Who I Am, a study of homeless women in America, in 1993.
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Product Details

  • Series: Legacies of Social Thought Series
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 2 edition (July 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742528960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742528963
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is Elliot Liebow's first book. I was extremely fortunate in having it as assigned reading in an introductory sociology course when I was an undergraduate. The book is exceptional in many ways.

When Liebow reached the dissertation stage in his doctoral program at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., he was uncertain as to how to proceed. His advisor's advice was simple: "Go out and make like an anthropologist." Which is exactly what Liebow did.

Liebow "made like and anthropologist," moreover, not in an exotic society in the South Pacific or the Amazon, but in Washington, D.C. itself. He spent over a year observing and participating in the life of inner-city Black men who frequented an area referred to as Tally's corner. His choice of this area and these men required a good deal of tact, self-confidence, and anthropological skill: a thirty-seven year old White man entering and interacting in a group of young to middle-aged Black men who had no particular reason to accept him as anything other than a meddling outsider representing the dominant race.

Liebow, nevertheless, gained acceptance and provided insights into life among low-income inner-city Blacks that were unsuspected and invaluable. For example, the area was not nearly as socially disorganized as was commonly assumed. Instead, helping relationships based on friendship and kinship were commonplace. The area was, in fact, a neighborhood.

Black men were not the recklessly sexual itinerant impregnators that they were and often are assumed to be. Instead, their failure to stay with the women who bore their children was commonly rooted in their feelings of inadequacy at being unable to find a job that would enable them to support a family.
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Format: Paperback
Admittedly, I first read Tally's Corner almost three decades ago -- and it still has a hold over me. In those 30 years, I went from studying sociology to making films to doing start-ups in Silicon Valley. I am now in the process of ordering more copies to distribute to friends. Tally's Corner is an exceptional work. It had its origins in a doctoral thesis and yet it reads like a novel. Its powerful message aside, Tally's Corner is marvelous reading. Anyone who wants to write something important and lasting should look to Liebow to see how it is done. Tally's Corner defies the contrary logic which says "no pain, no gain" -- that all things profound must to be impossible for everyman to understand.
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Format: Paperback
This book was assigned as part of a course taken on Oppression and Poverty in America. An excellent book for anyone interested in learning about life in the inner-city. Written in 1967 as a field study by the late Elliot Liebow, it offers a view of life that is not seen by most college students. I have assigned it to my Intro to Sociology class as a stepping off point for discussion about American culture, poverty, and family life. Very easy reading and truly a book that should be read by anyone who wants to begin to understand and accept diversity among people.
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Format: Paperback
This study of Black streetcorner men by noted anthropologist, Dr. Elliot Liebow, was his doctoral dissertation. It became recognized as one of the more important sociological treatises, at the time it was written; a time during which Blacks or African Americans were still referred to as Negroes. Dr. Liebow's year and a half long study of a group of disaffected Black males, who routinely frequented a streetcorner in Washington, D.C.'s inner city, provided the basis for the dissertation that gave rise to this book. His analysis of this particular societal subculture, in the context of the overall social milieu in which it exists, is still relevant today. While scholarly, the book is written in an engaging conversational tone, which makes for easy reading. This book should be read by all those with an interest in the social sciences.
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Format: Paperback
There's nothing new that I could add to what's already been said in praise of it. What I do suggest is that it's extremely interesting to read "Tally's Corner" and then read "The Corner" by David Simon and Edward Burns. The books treat people at essentially the same socio-economic level in essentially the same geographic area. The effects of the 30 years between them aren't startling, not even surprising, really. However, reading the books together gives enormous emphasis to the nature of the changes in the lives of the inner-city poor over that period. And those change have not been for the better.
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Format: Paperback
This study of Black streetcorner men by noted anthropologist, Dr. Elliot Liebow, was his doctoral dissertation. It became recognized as one of the more important sociological treatises at the time it was written; a time during which Blacks or African Americans were still referred to as Negroes. Dr. Liebow's year and a half long study of a group of disaffected Black males, who routinely frequented a streetcorner in Washington, D.C.'s inner city, provided the basis for the dissertation that gave rise to this book. His analysis of this particular societal subculture, in the context of the overall social milieu in which it exists, is still relevant today. While scholarly, the book is written in an engaging conversational tone, which makes for easy reading. This book should be read by all those with an interest in the social sciences.
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