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Dallas Myth: the Making and Unmaking of an American City (10 Edition)


Dallas Myth: the Making and Unmaking of an American City (10 Edition) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Please note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.

Publisher Comments:

The ninth largest city in the United States, Dallas is exceptional among American cities for the claims of its elites and boosters that it is a "city with no limits" and a "city with no history." Home to the Dallas Cowboys, self-styled as "America's Team," setting for the television series that glamorized its values of self-invention and success, and site of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dallas looms disproportionately large in the American imagination. Yet it lacks an identity of its own.

In The Dallas Myth, Harvey J. Graff presents a novel interpretation of a city that has proudly declared its freedom from the past. He scrutinizes the city's origin myth and its governance ideology, known as the "Dallas Way," looking at how these elements have shaped Dallas and served to limit democratic participation and exacerbate inequality. Advancing beyond a traditional historical perspective, Graff proposes an original, integrative understanding of the city's urban fabric and offers an explicit critique of the reactionary political foundations of modern Dallas: its tolerance for right-wing political violence, the endemic racism and xenophobia, and a planning model that privileges growth and monumental architecture at the expense of the environment and social justice.

Revealing the power of myths that have defined the city for so long, Graff presents a new interpretation of Dallas that both deepens our understanding of America's urban landscape and enables its residents to envision a more equitable, humane, and democratic future for all.

Book News Annotation:

Dallas, Texas has touted itself as a city with no past and plenty of future, but this may force it to change proportions substantially. Graff (English and history, Ohio State U.) examines what happens when a large urban entity believes its own press releases. He closely examines the various claims from governing bodies to local and national media and finds the flaws: the city allows for only limited participatory democracy and encourages inequality, citizens accept the appalling rate of right-wing political violence, and planners are busier erecting monumental architecture than promoting justice and sustainability. The reality is far from the "all-American," "self-invented" media fantasy Dallas has invented for itself, but Graff recommends ways its citizenry can provide for a more equitable, humane and democratic future. This serves as both an exposé and a cautionary tale directed at other "big buzz" cities. First published in hardback in 2008. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


An unconventional-and critical-examination of "the city with no past".

About the Author

Harvey J. Graff is Ohio Eminent Scholar in Literacy Studies and professor of English and history at The Ohio State University. He is the author of numerous books on urban studies, literacy, and the history of children and adolescence, including The Legacies of Literacy: Continuities and Contradictions in Western Culture and Society, The Labyrinths of Literacy: Reflections on Literacy Past and Present, and Conflicting Paths: Growing Up in America.

Table of Contents


Preface: Finding Myself in Dallas




1. Locating the City: Three Icons and Images of "Big D"

2. Constructing a City with No Limits

3. Revising Dallas's Histories


4. The Dallas Way

5. Tales of Two Cities, North and South, in White, Black, and Brown

6. Mimetic and Monumental Development: Memories Lost and Images Found

7. A City at the Crossroads: Dallas at the Tipping Point

Appendix A. Dallas's Historical Development

Appendix B. Chronology of Dallas History



Product Details

Graff Harvey J
University of Minnesota Press
Graff, Harvey J.
Dallas (Tex.) History.
Dallas (Tex.) Social conditions.
Sociology - Urban
United States - State & Local - Southwest
United States - State & Local - General
Sociology-Urban Studies
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
9 x 6 x 1 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Architecture » General
History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Americana » Texas
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
History and Social Science » Sociology » Urban Studies » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Dallas Myth: the Making and Unmaking of an American City (10 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 424 pages University of Minnesota Press - English 9780816652709 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
An unconventional-and critical-examination of "the city with no past".
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