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How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the…
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How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York (1890)

by Jacob A. Riis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
All Liberals and those who profess to be humanitarians need to read this book. Riis, a reporter for a New York newspaper, investigated the tenements and the society that calls them home. This book is the result. It shows unquestionably that government involvement is not benign, that when taking on the problem of inadequate housing by building newer facilities, only multiplies the problem by attracting the same clientele as had existed. In other words, tenements don't cause poverty, tenements are occupied by those who, for various reasons, refuse to improve their condition. The Germans were able to raise themselves out of the tenements, so too the Jews and Italians. Their culture demands improvement of one's social status. There are others who exist by living off the government's largess. Interestingly, when the tenements were torn down and the government was not involved, the crime rate decreased dramatically. Tell your emasculated, professional humanitarian friends that they should read this book! ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
The most racist book I've read. Entirely condescending and patronizing. The raw data is interesting, the description of the living conditions mind blowing, but the criticisms leveled at other cultures are painful to read. It made me think of an old National Lampoon guide to ethnicities from the 1970s or 80s, except that it was serious.

Sante, in the introduction, claims that Riis is not so bad as other writers of the time and that may be, but it was jarring, nonetheless. ( )
  encephalical | Oct 1, 2013 |
Exceptional early look at immigrants and their condition. ( )
  OnwardToOurPast | Mar 9, 2012 |
Riis' book is an in depth look into poverty in the U.S. in early twentieth century America, and the photographs and statistics strike a heavy impact. The organization makes it simple to look to a particular type of poverty or demographic, so for research purposes, this is a great resource that adds another level to what we generally know of U.S. history from this time period. At the same time, reading the book straight through is fairly dry, and becomes somewhat repetitive at times. For the full effect, unless you're simply reading for fact and history and not really looking to engage with the material, I'd suggest reading chapter by chapter with breaks.

On a separate note, while this edition is ideal because of the photographs, there are far too many typos to make it an ideal edition text-wise. If careful editing is one of your pet peeves (as it is mine), you might consider reading a different text, and just perusing this one for the documentary photography alone.

Still, if you're interested in the subject, this is a worthwhile resource. ( )
  whitewavedarling | Apr 12, 2010 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jacob A. Riisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Leviatin, DavidEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The first tenement New York knew bore the mark of Cain from its birth, though a generation passed before the writing was deciphered.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486220125, Paperback)

This famous journalistic record of the filth and degradation of New York's slums at the turn of the century is a classic in social thought and a monument of early American photography. Captured on film by photographer, journalist, and reformer Jacob Riis, more than 100 grim scenes reveal man's struggle to survive.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:16 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

This classic account of slum conditions in New York City was first published in 1890. Annotation. Famous journalistic record, exposing poverty & degradation of New York slums around 1900, by major social reformer. Famous journalistic record, exposing poverty and degradation of New York slums around 1900, by major social reformer. 100 striking and influential photographs. In How The Other Half Lives New Yorkers read with horror that three-quarters of the residents of their city were housed in tenements and that in those tenements rents were substantially higher than in better sections of the city. In his book Riis gave a full and detailed picture of what life in those slums was like, how the slums were created, how and why they remained as they were, who was forced to live there, and offered suggestions for easing the lot of the poor.… (more)

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