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Almost Home: America's Love-Hate Relationship with Communityby David L Kirp
Synopses & Reviews
For David Kirp, a gifted storyteller and journalist, the concept of community stretches beyond a cliched figure of speech to describe what happens when people make decisions that reshape one another's lives. He has collected a fascinating variety of such stories from across America to re-create the immediate experience of community--tales that signify in their particulars, giving meaning to the much bandied-about idea of civic virtue. They paint a rich picture of how, for better and for worse, Americans live together.
We meet two San Francisco families, one Nicaraguan and the other black, trying to live peacefully with each other; residents in the fire ravaged Berkeley hills, whose greed and architectural ambitions thwart attempts to build the new Eden of their dreams; parents and teachers fighting against long odds to improve the East Harlem public schools; residents of a small southern town caring for a parentless teenager with AIDS; residents of the New Jersey suburb of Mount Laurel deciding whether poor families will be allowed to live in "our town;" and neighbors choosing sides when a black teenager kills his gay white neighbor. While there are real heroes--Ethel Lawrence, the Rosa Parks of the affordable housing movement; and Deborah Meier, tireless advocate for better schools--the stories are mainly about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events.
These beautifully written tales reveal individuals in the process of forming new alliances or falling back on familiar ones, "bowling alone" or promoting the common good. They show us, past all self-delusion, who we really are.
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