Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021



Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Sociology of Urban Areas. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.

1. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

In a thrilling narrative showcasing his gifts as storyteller and researcher, Erik Larson recounts the spellbinding tale of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The White City (as it became known) was a magical creation constructed upon Chicago's swampy Jackson Park by Daniel H. Burnham, the famed architect who coordinated the talents of Frederick Olmsted, Louis Sullivan, and others to build it. Dr. Henry H. Holmes combined the fair's appeal with his own fatal charms to lure scores of women to their deaths. Whereas the fair marked the birth of a new epoch in American history, Holmes marked the emergence of a new American archetype, the serial killer, who thrived on the very forces then transforming the country. In deft prose, Larson conveys Burnham's herculean challenge to build the White City in less than 18 months. At the same time, he describes how, in a malign parody of the achievements of the fair's builders, Holmes built his own World's Fair Hotel - a torture palace complete with a gas chamber and crematorium. Throughout the book, tension mounts on two fronts: Will Burnham complete the White City before the millions of visitors arrive at its gates? Will anyone stop Holmes as he ensnares his victims?

  • Author: Erik Larson
  • Genre: History, Americas, United States, State & Local

                 

2. Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness (Pantheon Graphic Library)


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

From the acclaimed author of Imagine Wanting Only This— a timely and moving meditation on isolation and longing, both as individuals and as a society There is a silent epidemic in America: loneliness. Shameful to talk about and often misunderstood, loneliness is everywhere, from the most major of metropolises to the smallest of towns.   In Seek You , Kristen Radtke's wide-ranging exploration of our inner lives and public selves, Radtke digs into the ways in which we attempt to feel closer to one another, and the distance that remains. Through the lenses of gender and violence, technology and art, Radtke ushers us through a history of loneliness and longing, and shares what feels impossible to share.   Ranging from the invention of the laugh-track to the rise of Instagram, the bootstrap-pulling cowboy to the brutal experiments of Harry Harlow, Radtke investigates why we engage with each other, and what we risk when we turn away. With her distinctive, emotionally-charged drawings and deeply empathetic prose, Kristen Radtke masterfully shines a light on some of our most vulnerable and sublime moments, and asks how we might keep the spaces between us from splitting entirely.

  • Author: Kristen Radtke
  • Publisher: Pantheon (July 13, 2021)
  • Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels, Graphic Novels
  • ISBN: 978-1524748067
  • Dimensions: 8.77 x 3.52 x 10.8 inches

                 

3. The Death and Life of Great American Cities


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

Thirty years after its publication, The Death and Life of Great American Cities was described by The New York Times as "perhaps the most influential single work in the history of town planning....It can also be seen in a much larger context.  It is first of all a work of literature; the descriptions of street life as a kind of ballet and the bitingly satiric account of traditional planning theory can still be read for pleasure even by those who long ago absorbed and appropriated the book's arguments."  Jane Jacobs, an editor and writer on architecture in New York City in the early sixties, argued that urban diversity and vitality were being destroyed by powerful architects and city planners.  Rigorous, sane, and delightfully epigrammatic, Jacobs's small masterpiece is a blueprint for the humanistic management of cities.  It is sensible, knowledgeable, readable, indispensable.  The author has written a new foreword for this Modern Library edition.

  • Author: Jane Jacobs
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (July 20, 2016)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Politics & Social Sciences

                 

4. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

NEW YORK TIMES  BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF TIME ’S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE • One of the most acclaimed books of our time, this modern classic “has set a new standard for reporting on poverty” (Barbara Ehrenreich,  The New York Times Book Review ). In  Evicted , Princeton sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond follows eight families in Milwaukee as they each struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Hailed as “wrenching and revelatory” ( The Nation ), “vivid and unsettling” ( New York Review of Books ),  Evicted  transforms our understanding of poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving one of twenty-first-century America’s most devastating problems. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.  NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY President Barack Obama •  The New York Times Book Review • The Boston Globe • The Washington Post •  NPR  • Entertainment Weekly • The New Yorker • Bloomberg • Esquire • BuzzFeed • Fortune • San Francisco Chronicle • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Politico • The Week •  Chicago Public Library  • BookPage • Kirkus Reviews • Library Journal •  Publishers Weekly • Booklist • Shelf Awareness WINNER OF: The National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction • The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction • The Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction • The Hillman Prize for Book Journalism • The PEN/New England Award • The  Chicago Tribune  Heartland Prize FINALIST FOR THE  LOS ANGELES TIMES  BOOK PRIZE AND THE KIRKUS PRIZE “ Evicted  stands among the very best of the social justice books.” —Ann Patchett, author of  Bel Canto  and  Commonwealth  “Gripping and moving—tragic, too.” —Jesmyn Ward, author of  Salvage the Bones “ Evicted  is that rare work that has something genuinely new to say about poverty.” —San Francisco Chronicle

  • Author: Matthew Desmond
  • Publisher: Crown; Reprint edition (February 28, 2017)
  • Genre: Business & Money, Economics
  • ISBN: 978-0553447453
  • Dimensions: 5.14 x 0.92 x 7.96 inches

                 

5. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

Everywhere acknowledged as a modern American classic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and chosen by the Modern Library as one of the hundred greatest books of the 20th century, The Power Broker  is a galvanizing biography revealing not only the saga of one man's incredible accumulation of power, but the story of the shaping (and mis-shaping) of New York in the 20th century. Robert Caro's monumental book makes public what few outsiders knew: that Robert Moses was the single most powerful man of his time in the City and in the State of New York. And in telling the Moses story, Caro both opens up to an unprecedented degree the way in which politics really happens - the way things really get done in America's city halls and statehouses - and brings to light a bonanza of vital information about such national figures as Alfred E. Smith and Franklin D. Roosevelt (and the genesis of their blood feud), about Fiorello La Guardia, John V. Lindsay and Nelson Rockefeller. But The Power Broker is first and foremost a brilliant multidimensional portrait of a man - an extraordinary man who, denied power within the normal framework of the democratic process, stepped outside that framework to grasp power sufficient to shape a great city and to hold sway over the very texture of millions of lives. We see how Moses began: the handsome, intellectual young heir to the world of Our Crowd, an idealist. How, rebuffed by the entrenched political establishment, he fought for the power to accomplish his ideals. How he first created a miraculous flowering of parks and parkways, playlands and beaches - and then ultimately brought down on the city the smog-choked aridity of our urban landscape, the endless miles of (never sufficient) highway, the hopeless sprawl of Long Island, the massive failures of public housing, and countless other barriers to humane living. How, inevitably, the accumulation of power became an end in itself. Moses built an empire and lived like an emperor. He was held in fear - his dossiers could disgorge the dark secrets of anyone who opposed him. He was, he claimed, above politics, above deals; and through decade after decade, the newspapers and the public believed. Meanwhile, he was developing his public authorities into a fourth branch of government known as "Triborough" - a government whose records were closed to the public, whose policies and plans were decided not by voters or elected officials but solely by Moses - an immense economic force directing pressure on labor unions, on banks, on all the city's political and economic institutions, and on the press, and on the Church. He doled out millions of dollars' worth of legal fees, insurance commissions, lucrative contracts on the basis of who could best pay him back in the only coin he coveted: power. He dominated the politics and politicians of his time - without ever having been elected to any office. He was, in essence, above our democratic system. Robert Moses held power in the state for 44 years, through the governorships of Smith, Roosevelt, Lehman, Dewey, Harriman, and Rockefeller, and in the city for 34 years, through the mayoralties of La Guardia, O'Dwyer, Impellitteri, Wagner, and Lindsay. He personally conceived and carried through public works costing $27 billion - he was undoubtedly America's greatest builder. This is how he built and dominated New York - before, finally, he was stripped of his reputation (by the press) and of his power (by Nelson Rockefeller). But his work, and his will, had been done.

  • Author: Robert A. Caro
  • Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Politics & Government, Public Affairs & Policy, City Planning & Urban Development

                 



6. Fire Lover: A True Story


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

The hunt for the most prolific American arsonist of the twentieth century — in this Edgar Award–winning true crime story that’s “stranger than fiction” ( The New York Times ) . From Joseph Wambaugh, the #1 New York Times –bestselling author of such classics as The Onion Field and The Choirboys , comes the extraordinary story of the chase for the “Pillow Pyro,” led by one ambitious firefighter. Growing up in Los Angeles, John Orr idolized law enforcement. However, after being rejected by both the LAPD and LAFD, he settled for a position with the Glendale Fire Department. There, he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a fire captain and one of Southern California’s best-known and most respected arson investigators. But Orr led another, unseen life, one that included womanizing and an insatiable thirst for recognition.   While Orr busted a slew of petty arsonists, there was one serial criminal he could not track down. Nothing was safe from the so-called Pillow Pyro’s obsession. Homes, retail stores, and fields of dry brush all went up in flames. His handiwork led to millions of dollars worth of property damage and the deaths of four innocent bystanders. But after years of evading the police, he made a mistake—one that would turn Orr’s life upside down.   The Washington Post raves, “When Joseph Wambaugh talks about the culture of cops versus the culture of firemen, we get no speculation, only hard-earned details.” Based on meticulous research, interviews, case records, and thousands of pages of court transcripts, Fire Lover is Wambaugh at his best.

  • Author: Joseph Wambaugh
  • Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road (October 18, 2016)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Politics & Social Sciences

                 

7. Crown Heights (Kindle Single)


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

The true story behind the major motion picture from Amazon Studios. Childhood friends from Trinidad, Colin Warner and Carl King grew into men on opposite sides of prison bars after Colin was arrested for murder in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. With no evidence against him, Colin was wrongfully convicted and wrongfully imprisoned for more than two decades. But time and walls could not break the friends’ bond. Carl’s extraordinary resolve, sacrifice, and courage were Colin’s last rays of hope in a harrowing struggle for freedom and justice. Whatever it took, Carl was not going to leave his best friend behind.

  • Author: Colin Warner
  • Publisher: Amazon Original Stories (November 28, 2017)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Politics & Social Sciences

                 

8. An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

This inspirational New York Times bestseller chronicles the lifelong friendship between a busy sales executive and a disadvantaged young boy, and how both of their lives were changed by what began as one small gesture of kindness. Stopping was never part of the plan... She was a successful ad sales rep in Manhattan. He was a homeless, eleven-year-old panhandler on the street. He asked for spare change; she kept walking. But then something stopped her in her tracks, and she went back. And she continued to go back, again and again. They met up nearly every week for years and built an unexpected, life-changing friendship that has today spanned almost three decades. Whatever made me notice him on that street corner so many years ago is clearly something that cannot be extinguished, no matter how relentless the forces aligned against it. Some may call it spirit. Some may call it heart. It drew me to him, as if we were bound by some invisible, unbreakable thread. And whatever it is, it binds us still.

  • Author: Laura Schroff
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Reprint edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Politics & Social Sciences

                 

9. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education (Race, Education, and Democracy)


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

A New York Times Best Seller Merging real stories with theory, research, and practice, a prominent scholar offers a new approach to teaching and learning for every stakeholder in urban education. Drawing on his own experience of feeling undervalued and invisible in classrooms as a young man of color and merging his experiences with more than a decade of teaching and researching in urban America, award-winning educator Christopher Emdin offers a new lens on an approach to teaching and learning in urban schools. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...and the Rest of Y’all Too is the much-needed antidote to traditional top-down pedagogy and promises to radically reframe the landscape of urban education for the better. He begins by taking to task the perception of urban youth of color as unteachable, and he challenges educators to embrace and respect each student’s culture and to reimagine the classroom as a site where roles are reversed and students become the experts in their own learning. Putting forth his theory of Reality Pedagogy, Emdin provides practical tools to unleash the brilliance and eagerness of youth and educators alike—both of whom have been typecast and stymied by outdated modes of thinking about urban education. With this fresh and engaging new pedagogical vision, Emdin demonstrates the importance of creating a family structure and building communities within the classroom, using culturally relevant strategies like hip-hop music and call-and-response, and connecting the experiences of urban youth to indigenous populations globally. Merging real stories with theory, research, and practice, Emdin demonstrates how by implementing the “Seven C’s” of reality pedagogy in their own classrooms, urban youth of color benefit from truly transformative education. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...and the Rest of Y'all Too has been featured in MotherJones.com, Education Week , Weekend All Things Considered with Michel Martin , Diverse: Issues in Higher Education , PBS NewsHour.com, Slate , The Washington Post , Scholastic Administrator Magazine , Essence Magazine , Salon , ColorLines , Ebony.com, Huffington Post Education

  • Author: Christopher Emdin
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (January 3, 2017)
  • Genre: History, Americas
  • ISBN: 978-0807028025
  • Dimensions: 5.42 x 0.68 x 8.51 inches

                 

10. Everything Now: Lessons from the City-State of Los Angeles


Top 10 Best Books to Read in Sociology of Urban Areas - August 2021

A LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER. NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2021 BY THE MILLIONS A provocative, exhilaratingly new understanding of the United States’ most confounding metropolis―not just a great city, but a full-blown modern city-state America is obsessed with Los Angeles. And America has been thinking about Los Angeles all wrong, for decades, on repeat. Los Angeles is not just the place where the American dream hits the Pacific. (It has its own dreams.) Not just the vanishing point of America’s western drive. (It has its own compass.) Functionally, aesthetically, mythologically, even technologically, an independent territory, defined less by distinct borders than by an aura of autonomy and a sense of unfurling destiny―this is the city-state of Los Angeles. Deeply reported and researched, provocatively argued, and eloquently written, Rosecrans Baldwin's Everything Now approaches the metropolis from unexpected angles, nimbly interleaving his own voice with a chorus of others, from canonical L.A. literature to everyday citizens. Here, Octavia E. Butler and Joan Didion are in conversation with activists and astronauts, vampires and veterans. Baldwin records the stories of countless Angelenos, discovering people both upended and reborn: by disasters natural and economic, following gospels of wealth or self-help or personal destiny. The result is a story of a kaleidoscopic, vibrant nation unto itself―vastly more than its many, many parts. Baldwin’s concept of the city-state allows us, finally, to grasp a place―Los Angeles―whose idiosyncrasies both magnify those of America, and are so fully its own. Here, space and time don’t quite work the same as they do elsewhere, and contradictions are as stark as southern California’s natural environment. Perhaps no better place exists to watch the United States’s past, and its possible futures, play themselves out. Welcome to Los Angeles, the Great American City-State.

  • Author: Rosecrans Baldwin
  • Publisher: MCD (June 15, 2021)
  • Genre: History, Americas
  • ISBN: 978-0374150426
  • Dimensions: 5.75 x 1.01 x 8.45 inches