Sep 28 2014
The last half of this book is vastly different than the first portion. Gone are the discussions of pretty downtowns and postcards, and now we are left with critiques of them. At one point, a journalist commented on how no one went shopping to see pretty buildings. It’s true, but sad, and even sadder is the fact that there are economic conditions even worse than the redoing of 1950’s women’s efforts.
Race riots erupted throughout America, concentrated in the Eastern portion but not only in the South. I was surprised to see places like New Bedford, MA and Peoria, IL on the list of conflict hosting cities, although I should have not been surprised. I liked, for lack of a better word, how the conflicts went beyond race and into class efforts. No longer were African Americans the marginalized group, as suddenly very poor white people were grouped with them. Those lucky enough to have money, particularly white women, became afraid to venture into what was once a friendly hometown, thanks to the violence occurring.
The only thing that I didn’t enjoy about this portion of the book was how Isenberg seems to not only repeat herself, but also write as if these idea of class issues had never been tapped into before. These theories were not necessarily new, and I felt like a frustrated bystander as I read about the conflicts facing the nation.
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