I ve once again committed the error of waiting a few weeks to write up a book, which always seems to result in a less immediate and hence less satisfying review Sorry, because this book was worthwhile if you re interested in the topic The author tells the story of the notorious public housing project Cabrini Green through the experiences of various individuals who lived there We start with a mother who moved from a noxious slum into what was then a fresh, new style of living Another striking figure is a man who graduated from a life of drug dealing and crime to become a leader in the Cabrini Green community In fact the closest thing to a plot twist in this book is the fact that the main profiled figures, despite their very different starts in life, all become leaders This makes you look at Cabrini Green in a new way not just a huge architectural social failure but also a crucibl I didn t come into this book knowing nothing about public housing policy, it s long been one of those pockets of politics I find very interesting, but I learned a ton reading this Austen weaves personal stories in with the history of Cabrini Green, making politics personal and giving the narrative a cohesiveness He also zooms out fairly frequently to talk about public housing and political policies in general, not just Cabrini Green As you would expect, this is a story of racism in America and it s a story still playing out. Austen effectively combines a history of Cabrini Green with big picture issues like housing policy, policing, and city politics, and close up stories of the lives of several long term residents He writes about crime, violence, and drugs, but also the strong community bonds and attachment to place many residents felt A lot of this is depressing Chicago, like many other cities, doesn t have anywhere near enough low cost housing and the demolition of high rise public housing didn t fix anything, just pushed residents into other segregated, high poverty and high crime neighbourhoods But there is hope, as well, in the activism of the residents Austen follows.
Just a flat out important book by a writer with complete authority over his subject matter It charts the life and death of great American city the Cabrini Green housing projects within a great American city Chicago and let s the reader bear witness to how and why it all comes tumbling down and what the costs are to the people who inhabit it read it to get educated read it to understand the American experiment Or should we call it the project õ High-Risers õ A well told story of a notorious high rise in Chicago It s obviously not just the story of the high rise, but of the people within and without, of race and violence and politics and of gentrification It s a really interesting read And it made me think that we should rethink public housing in this country We made so many mistakes in the past and made so many racist decisions, but the idea of public housing was a good one Cabrini green was a nice place and housed people who needed homes There are still many people who need homes why not build nice public housing PHENOMENAL Required reading for anyone who has read and loved EVICTED Also an excellent follow up to The Warmth of Other Suns this picks up and details the exact travesty that occurred when the Great Migration led Southern Blacks to Chicagothe North was not the safe haven they were sold Overall a fascinating look at one of the US largest metropolitan areas and an eye opening account of how this city systematically segregated and harmed its most vulnerable residents. This book is definitely a cool, historical look back on Cabrini Green with some very interesting personal stories of residents as the medium for telling the complicated history. I didn t like this book as much as Evicted or There Are No Children Here , but I did enjoy the similarity in style. The Ranks Of Evicted, The Warmth Of Other Sons, And Classic Works Of Literary Non Fiction By Alex Kotlowitz And J Anthony Lukas, High Risers Braids Personal Narratives, City Politics, And National History To Tell The Timely And Epic Story Of Chicago S Cabrini Green, America S Most Iconic Public Housing ProjectBuilt In The S Atop An Infamous Italian Slum, Cabrini Green Grew To Twenty Three Towers And A Population Of , All Of It Packed Onto Just Ù High-Risers ð Download by Î Ben Austen Seventy Acres A Few Blocks From Chicago S Ritzy Gold Coast Cabrini Green Became Synonymous With Crime, Squalor, And The Failure Of Government For The Many Who Lived There, It Was Also A Much Needed Resource It Was Home By , Every High Rise Had Been Razed, The Island Of Black Poverty Engulfed By The White Affluence Around It, The Families DispersedIn This Novelistic And Eye Opening Narrative, Ben Austen Tells The Story Of America S Public Housing Experiment And The Changing Fortunes Of American Cities It Is An Account Told Movingly Though The Lives Of Residents Who Struggled To Make A Home For Their Families As Powerful Forces Converged To Accelerate The Housing Complex S Demise Beautifully Written, Rich In Detail, And Full Of Moving Portraits, High Risers Is A Sweeping Exploration Of Race, Class, Popular Culture, And Politics In Modern America That Brilliantly Considers What Went Wrong In Our Nation S Effort To Provide Affordable Housing To The Poor And What We Can Learn From Those Mistakes I remember hearing about the projects when I was a child I didn t truly understand what it meant, or what they were, of course that understanding wouldn t come until several years later When it did, the few things I read or, occasionally, saw on television centered around African American poverty, crime, and gangs leaving me with the impression that it was a terrible, frightening place to live. What I never learned about was how they came to be, or how different life was for the early tenants compared to what it eventually became. High Risers Cabrini Green and the Fate of American Public Housing tells the story of the Cabrini Green public housing project in Chicago, Illinois Though it would later become notorious for crime and gang activity, the high rises were once a lovely, desirable place to live, as we learn in reminiscences of former This book was incredibly detailed and very illuminating on the rise and fall of Cabrini Green Chicago should be ashamed of their handling ofmost of it I learned a lot and got very angry at times, and I m sure my feelings pale in comparison to those of the people who actually lived there and had to deal with policies I m not sure what the solution is and I think this book kind of sets up a little judgment of some people s lifestyle choices i. e her 38th grandchild they had 8 kids together etc while I realize that these are simple facts they often weren t necessary to the narrative other than to explain why a family remained as poor as they did. Anyways. It s wild to think that the last of the Cabrini towers were only demolished less than a decade ago If you re interested in the history of Chicago public housing, this is a must re
About The Author
Ben Austen has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Harper s Magazine, The Atlantic, GQ, and Wired He lives in Chicago.