Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sweet Land of Liberty?

A decade or so ago, urban historian Thomas Sugrue published a path-breaking book, The Origins of the Urban Crisis, which focused on the fractured racial politics of post-WWII Detroit. The book strongly suggested that the liberal political coalition of the New Deal-era was weak and broke down fairly quickly when race was interjected into the mix. He focused on housing as the lead spot for his analysis, detailing a variety of ways white homeowners acted to "defend" their neighborhoods from African Americans. These racialized housing politics created new political alliances that cut across the traditional New Deal coalition.

Sugrue is now back with a sweeping book - Sweet Land of Liberty - that attempts to chronicle the civil rights movement in the North. Of course, because my own work is in this area, I have been waiting on Sugrue's new book with some interest. Here is the New York Times book review. Here is a recent interview with Sugrue on the book from a New York radio station:

Check 'em out. Any responses? Read anything good lately?

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