Tuesday, December 1, 2009

American Exodus or Toward the Livable City

American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California

Author: James N Gregory

Fifty years ago, John Steinbeck's now classic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, captured the epic story of an Oklahoma farm family driven west to California by dust storms, drought, and economic hardship. It was a story that generations of Americans have also come to know through Dorothea Lange's unforgettable photos of migrant families struggling to make a living in Depression-torn California. Now in James N. Gregory's pathbreaking American Exodus, there is at last an historical study that moves beyond the fiction and the photographs to uncover the full meaning of these events.
American Exodus takes us back to the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and the war boom influx of the 1940s to explore the experiences of the more than one million Oklahomans, Arkansans, Texans, and Missourians who sought opportunities in California. Gregory reaches into the migrants' lives to reveal not only their economic trials but also their impact on California's culture and society. He traces the development of an "Okie subculture" that over the years has grown into an essential element in California's cultural landscape.
The consequences, however, reach far beyond California. The Dust Bowl migration was part of a larger heartland diaspora that has sent millions of Southerners and rural Midwesterners to the nation's northern and western industrial perimeter. American Exodus is the first book to examine the cultural implications of that massive 20th-century population shift. In this rich account of the experiences and impact of these migrant heartlanders, Gregory fills an important gap in recent American social history.

Library Journal

A thorough study of the migration of Oklahomans, Arkansans, Texans, and Missourians to California in the years of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Gregory dispels the popular Okie image built from The Grapes of Wrath , placing this unique exodus in economic perspective. He is particularly successful in tracing Okie impact on the San Joaquin Valley, where the Okie twang and culture have taken root to become the Californian. Gregory's prose is conversational, although his narrative lacks the compelling anecdotes that enrich history for the lay reader. This is, nevertheless, an important and necessary work on this period. Recommended.-- Timothy L. Zindel, Hastings Coll. of the Law, San Francisco

Interesting book: Condemned or Office 2003 Bible

Toward the Livable City

Author: Emilie Buchwald

Inspiring and accessible, Toward the Livable City combines firsthand accounts of the attractions –– and distractions –– of urban life to show how to create successful cities. For city dwellers and commuters, urban planners and architects, neighborhood groups and activists, this book outlines specific strategies for change. Fifteen leading thinkers including James Howard Kunstler, Jane Holtz Kay, Tony Hiss, Bill McKibben, and Jay Walljasper explore smart growth, riverfront redevelopment, urban farming, pedestrian rights, traffic, opportunity-based housing, and suburban vs. city living. They tell how the mayor of Curitiba, Brazil, built dedicated busways and closed downtown streets to cars; how urban agriculture in vacant lots and backyards in Boston produces 10,000 pounds of vegetables each season; and how Minneapolis successfully redeveloped its riverfront, among other shining examples. Photographs are featured.

Table of Contents:
Finding Common Ground, an Introduction
The Lived-In City: A Place in Time5
Divorcing the City21
Selections from Roadkill Bill41
Cambridge Walking55
City Places, Sacred Spaces64
Food for the City, from the City79
Mixed Use in the City89
The Empty Harbor and the Dilemma of Waterfront Development97
Reinventing a Vibrant Riverfront119
The Backside of Civility143
If You Build It, Will They Change?161
The Region: The True City169
Opportunity-Based Housing181
A Burden, a Blessing212
How to Fall in Love with Your Hometown231
Cities of the Future in the Long Emergency265
Charter of the New Urbanism277
Additional Reading283
Public Interest Organizations287
Subject Index291

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