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Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the…

Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families

by J. Anthony Lukas

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Here is a tale of the Boston Busing Crisis, and the racial tension that related to integration of the school systems in the 1960s and 1970s. The book follows three families: African American, Irish and an upper class Yankee family. There is a brief description of their background, and then narrations of the experience of each family when the school districts in Eastern Massachusetts began to bus African American students from the urban areas of Roxbury, Dorcester and Charlestown to the suburban towns better known for their schools.

The strife caused by this upheaval impacted many areas of the city of Boston. We see the results of political protests, riots, the media's role in the propagation of societal stereotypes, and religion's contradictory place as both a social change motivator and a calming influence.

Growing up in the 80s as an outsider in an affluent Boston suburb, I did see some of the remnants of the busing program. There were certain places in this book where I gained insight into the creation of the program. I specifically remember friends who would get up at five in the morning to take the bus to our school.

Though written in the mid 1980s, this look into the desegregation program in Boston holds up very well. A particularly interesting read for those in the Boston area. ( )
  KeithHeselton | Jun 16, 2013 |
This is a study of three families in Boston in the 1970s--one black, one poor Irish Catholic, one liberal--and how the integration order issued in 1974 for busing in Boston affected them. It is an absorbing but painful account, and the awful rsce hatred exhibited in Boston, as well as the horrid crime, made me very glad I don't live there. ( )
2 vote Schmerguls | Jun 19, 2007 |
non-fiction, current affairs, education
  BrooklineBibliophile | Aug 21, 2006 |
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To Linda who saw through me and saw me through
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Sunlight struck the gnarled limbs outside his window, casting a thicket of light and shadow on the white clapboards.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394746163, Paperback)

The climax of this humane account of 10 years in Boston that began with news of Martin Luther King's assassination, is a watershed moment in the city's modern history--the 1974 racist riots that followed the court-ordered busing of kids to integrate the schools. To bring understanding to that moment, Lukas, a former New York Times journalist, focuses on two working-class families, headed by an Irish-American widow and an African-American mother, and on the middle-class family of a white liberal couple. Lukas goes beyond stereotypes, carefully grounding each perspective in its historical roots, whether in the antebellum South, or famine-era Ireland. In the background is the cast of public figures--including Judge Garrity, Mayor White, and Cardinal Cushing--with cameo roles in this disturbing history that won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:41 -0400)

Describes events in the lives of three families during the 1968 Boston school integration crisis.

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