Wednesday, June 18, 2008

random books on race issues

--The Failures Of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream
by Sheryll Cashin

good book about actual discriminatory housing practices, focuses mostly on african american issues. Very easy read, good introduction

--The Power Broker by Robert A Caro

great book (hailed as a "masterpiece") about the most prolific producer of public works in US history, Robert Moses. Built a ton of stuff in NY (made Jones Beach, Triborough, BQE, most of the parks and tons more). City planners from accross the US and the world imitated his stuff. But he built all this stuff with racism and classism in mind. He made all bridges too low for buses (so poor ppl couldn't escape the city, only wealthy ppl with cars could go to his parks), he refused to put hardly any parks in harlem and other minority areas (and when he did put his first park in harlem, he had the builders put wrought iron monkeys on the fences). And the dude did all this stuff illegally, and had all the city councils, mayors, governors and even the president FDR under his thumb. Huge book but worth it.

--Mexicanos: A history of mexicans in the united states
by Manuel G. Gonzales

great overview, very easy to read and provides good info about how the different cultures evolved in the US (New Mexico compared to San Antonio compared to LA)

--The Contemporary History of Latin America (Latin America in Translation/En Traducción/Em Tradução)
by Tulio Halperín Donghi

very detailed history, focuses on the political economies, the revolutions, the neo-imperialism/colonialsm--a ton of info

--Barrio Urbanism: Chicanos, Planning and American Cities
by David R. Diaz

Just read the intro today--says it focuses on the racist planning, banking, and real estate issues in the southwest, especially LA, and how the demographics are changing and class tensions arise as more chicanos move to suburbs
finished the book: editing could have reduced this book by 1/3. The first 100 or so pages are very tedious, he repeats a lot of stuff over and over w/out new info. But, the middle of this book is filled w/ facts and a easy to follow narrative that neatly covers a wide range of related issues (urbanism, racism, politics, demographic changes, culture, etc.). still, i recommend reading the whole thing because, according to, this is a very respected author and book

The book talks about the major Southwest cities, especially LA, and going into intricate detail about their chicano populations' histories, detailing their struggles for equality, focusing on political struggles relating to the barrios.

Anyways, great comprehensive resource for the history of chicano activism for urban problems

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