Reviews

If you have a book, film, or report that you would like us to consider reviewing, please contact us at articles@shelterforce.org. We cannot promise to review every item that we receive a review copy of. If you would like to be a reviewer, please contact us at articles@shelterforce.org with a brief description of your experience and what you are interested in reviewing.

graduation

Small Investments Can Yield Big Returns. Review of A Few Thousand Dollars

Over a dozen stories of how Americans from all different backgrounds have managed to leverage a few thousand dollars to lead lives that have helped thousands of other people, and strategies to reinvigorate a movement to influence asset building policy nationally.
organize mural

Organizers: There’s No Shortcut to Success

Overcoming the ideology of individualism and corporate power is achieved not through framing or advocacy but through the experience of collective struggle. A review of "No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age" by Jane McAlevey.
mallach book cover

Can Cities Fix Their Polarization Problem? A Review of The Divided City

How different would cities look and how different would people’s lives be if those with the power to set policy and invest resources prioritized the most vulnerable residents and the neighborhoods they live in?

A Review of The Fight for Fair Housing

The collection of 17 essays captures and explains the dynamism of the fair housing movement with its remarkable contributors.
baltimore maryland

What Future For America’s Small Cities?

These books not only offer something of a window on what is—or is not—going on in small cities, but useful pointers for practitioners working in the types of cities described.
The book cover for The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism By Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak.

The Fate, and Power, of Cities: A Review of The New Localism

The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism by Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak. Brookings Institution Press, 2018, 304 pp., $25.99 hardcover, also available on e-book. Purchase a copy at brook.gs/2LOjunA
Rubin cover, Advocacy for Social Change

Advocacy for Social Change: Coalitions and the Organizations that Lead Them

Many books discuss the corrosive effect of money in politics and lobbying organizations, but few are devoted to how those representing the have-nots organize on a national level to fight for laws and regulations that seek to empower communities.
ladders

Measuring the Right Things: “Mobility from Poverty” Is More than Finances

How would you measure someone making progress toward escaping poverty? If you've been tuned in to the asset-building movement you might look at their accumulation of assets and preparation for a financial emergency. You might also want to look at cash flow. But can poverty-fighting be solely measured by money?

The Gentrification Will Be Televised

The North Pole opens discussion between residents of gentrifying neighborhoods and elevates the personal stories and memories of those being displaced.
Navigating Community Development book cover

Honing the “Scale-Up” of Community Development Organizations

If specialization and regionalization are essential to being effective and getting to scale, how does the field execute a multi-pronged strategy needed to address the many factors that affect communities?
Miracle on 42nd Street movie poster

Miracle on 42nd Street: A Tale of Artist Housing

The story behind a bold idea to create a subsidized housing community for artists in a New York City neighborhood.
Cover of book

Meltdown: The Financial Crisis, Consumer Protection, and the Road Forward

In 2010, the scattered enforcement of consumer protection and fair lending laws across several agencies would end. The CFPB would have broad oversight over banks and non-banks, and though not perfect, this model has produced some impressive results.
The spires and statue atop an old bank building.

The Community Reinvestment Act at 40: A Careful Review of the Reviews

A review of HUD's Cityscape issue, which is devoted to reviews and studies of the Community Reinvestment Act at its 40th anniversary.
Cover image of Race, Class, and Politics in The Cappuccino City.

A D.C. Neighborhood’s Transformation From “Chocolate” to “Cappuccino”

To longtime residents of D.C., the findings presented in Derek Hyra’s Race, Class, and Politics in the Cappuccino City—that gentrifying neighborhoods’ racial and economic diversity does not translate into integration—is likely not surprising.

Lots of Maps, Little Insight in Richard Florida’s Latest

The New Urban Crisis treats a complicated and demanding subject with depressing inadequacy, offering little or nothing in the way of constructive, creative insights or strategies for advocates or practitioners seeking to combat these trends.

A Resource for Well-Meaning Landlords

When I picked up Peter Shapiro’s book The Good Landlord: A Guide to Making a Profit While Making a Difference, my first thought was, “What happens when you can’t do both, or have to choose one over the other?”
A black and white photo of children playing at New Communities in Georgia, the largest African-American owned parcel of land in the U.S. in the 1960s.

Continuing the Dream

New Communities Inc. was the largest African-American owned parcel of land in the United States the late 1960s. For more than 15 years, it survived attempts at sabotage and other challenges thanks to the collective efforts of as many as 500 families.

Well Worth the Read

Reading What It’s Worth was like walking through one of the glorious Asset Learning Conferences that CFED organizes, equipped with a magical Harry Potter wand that allows me to stop and re-work time so I can peer into each workshop at my leisure.

A New Way to Do Affirmative Action?

I was prepared to dislike Sheryll Cashin’s Place, Not Race, just based on the title. However, the author largely won me over.

A Voyeur’s View

The author's treatment of race is, at best, contradictory and, at worst, hypocritical and probably the book’s great failing.

Review of The Tenderloin: Sex, Crime & Resistance in the Heart Of San Francisco

I learned about the history of the Tenderloin, San Francisco’s maligned neighborhood, through walks in it with my Great Uncle, Milton Hendrick, and listening...
The cover for the book, "I Got Schooled" by M. Night Shyamalan.

Filmmaker Needs to Look at the Whole Picture

I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Moviemaker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Achievement Gap, by M. Night Shyamalan. Simon & Schuster. 306 pp. $25.00 (hardcover). Purchase here.

Joy and Justice

Community Projects as Social Activism: From Direct Action to Direct Services, by Benjamin Shepard. Sage Publications, 2014. 253pp. Reviewed by Matthew Borus. Purchase here.

Dispatches from Whose City?

City by City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis, edited by Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb. N + 1. 2015, 496pp, $18 (paper). Purchase here.

It’s Not Actually About Ownership

Private Property and Public Power: Eminent Domain in Philadelphia, by Debbie Becher. Oxford University Press, 2014. 334pp. $30.50 (paper) Purchase here.
cover this book changes everything

This Book Changes Everything

Book Review: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
Book cover show a black and white photo of people gathered in front of a high rise building

Public Housing Residents as Activists

In the 1990s, a group I co-founded, the Eviction Defense Network, was asked by public housing residents to organize alongside them during the HOPE...

Economic Security First

Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. Times Books, 2013

We May Be Small, But…

Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America’s Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World, by Catherine Tumber. MIT Press, 2012

Placemaking for, and by, Whom?

Place-Making in Legacy Cities: Opportunities and Good Practices, prepared by New Solution Group LLC in partnership with Center for Community Progress, December 2013.

Fleeced Again… Plundering Our Elders

Review of Fleeced: Speaking Out Against Senior Financial Abuse

Too High to Pay

The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future, by Joseph Stiglitz. Norton & Company, Inc., June 2012, 448 pp. $27.95 (cloth).

Layers of Opportunity

Land of Opportunity Interactive, landofopportunityinteractive.com

Who’s After the Park?

Edge of Albany: A Warren Crow Mystery, by Kirby White. Fox Creek Press, 2012. 218pp. $20 (paper).

Joyful Journey

Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted Out Cities, by Mindy Thompson Fullilove, M.D. New Village Press, 2013, 333pp. $19.95 (paper).

Let’s Hear From the Field

Investing in What Works for America's Communities, edited by Nancy O. Andrews and David J. Erickson. Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Low Income Investment Fund, 2012, 419 pp. Free ebook.

Getting Beyond Growth at Any Price

The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady-State Economy, by Michael Lewis and Pat Conaty. New Society Publishers, 2012, 400 pp., $26.95.I must admit...

Learning from San Francisco’s Housing Movement

From Urban Renewal and Displacement to Economic Inclusion: San Francisco Affordable Housing Policy 1978-2012, by Marcia Rosen and Wendy Sullivan. National Housing Law Project...

Born to Score

Born on Third Base: What the Forbes 400 Really Says About Economic Equality and Opportunity in America, United for a Fair Economy. 2012,...

The Next Move is Always Ours

Gale Force: Gale Cincotta: The Battles for Disclosure and Community Reinvestment, by Michael Westgate with Ann Vick-Westgate, Education and Resources Group, 2011, 416 pp. $20.00 (paper). Available on Amazon.

After the Election

America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty and Our Democracy, by Gar Alperovitz. 2nd edition, Democracy Collaborative, 2011, 372 pp. $11.53 (paper).

Diversity Is Good for Everyone

How Non-Minority Students Also Benefit from Racially Diverse Schools, by Genevieve Siegel-Hawley.National Coalition of School Diversity Research Brief #8, October 2012.

Data Says Inclusionary Housing Does Foster Economic Integration

Review of Is Inclusionary Zoning Inclusionary?, by Heather L. Schwartz, Liisa Ecola, Kristin J. Leuschner, Aaron Kofner. Rand Corporation, 2012.Long time advocates of inclusionary...

A Gift of Hope: Peter Dreier’s Social Justice Hall of Fame

If you are looking for a great holiday gift, consider Peter Dreier’s timely new book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A...

The State of Vacant Property Registration

“Local Vacant Property Registration Ordinances in the U.S.: An Analysis of Growth, Regional Trends, and Some Key Characteristics,” by Dan Immergluck, Yun Sang Lee...

Some of Us Shall Not Be Moved

This collection of moving accounts of post-Katrina neighborhood recovery lacks both solid political and structural context and marignalized viewpoints.

Adding to What We Know

The Rise of Residential Segregation by Income, by Richard Fry and Paul Taylor. Pew Research Center, August 2012.

Redlining Around the World

Segregation: A Global History of Divided Cities, by Carl Nightingale. The University of Chicago Press, 2012, 482 pp. $35/$21 (cloth/ebook).

A New Way to Explore Participatory Action Research

Research for Organizing Toolkit, a web-based tool by Alexa Kasdan, Lindsay Cattell, and Rosten Woo for the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center, 2012.

Advocacy Proposal or Call to Do Nothing Some More?

Sharing the Pain and Gain in the Housing Market: How Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Can Prevent Foreclosures and Protect Taxpayers by Combining Principal Reductions with "Shared Appreciation," John Griffith and Jordan Eizenga, Center for American Progress, March 2012.

House America Bond Might Not Address Long-term Issues

“A House America Bond for State Housing Finance Agencies: More Affordable Housing for Low- and Moderate-Income Households,” Jordan Eizenga, Center for American Progress, March 2012.

Community Development Finance in Perspective

Credit Unions, Community Development Finance, and the Great Recession, Clifford Rosenthal, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco working paper, February 2012.

Recovering from the Recovery

"Happening to a city near you" is the unsettling tag line for Land of Opportunity, a film that takes an intimate look at post-Katrina New Orleans and the interrelated struggles of those navigating it.

Taking the Measure of Community

Contesting Community: The Limits and Potential of Local Organizing, by James DeFilippis, Robert Fisher, and Eric Shragge. Rutgers University Press, 2010, 208 pp. $25.95 (paper).

Building the Progressive City

Making change is not always easy, even when “your candidate” wins. Activists in City Hall looks at two well-known progressive city administrations and the way that activists working for them did and didn’t achieve their goals.

In Land We Trust

The Community Land Trust Reader, edited by John Emmeus Davis. Lincoln Institute, 2010, 616 pp. $35 (paper).

The Housing Crisis: How Did We Get Here? Where Do We Go?

In early October 2008, The Kirwan Institute hosted a national summit on subprime lending, foreclosure, and race. We didn't know it when we were planning the event, but a series of unfolding economic events spurred by our nation's housing crisis would have our government contemplating a $700 billion financial sector bailout on the eve of our convening.

Taking Action Against Wage Theft

Wage Theft In America, by Kim Bobo. The New Press, 2009, 336 pp. $17.95 (paperback).

Occupied Owner

For decades, the United States government, pushed by its business partners in the financial and real estate world, "marched the nation into a delusion." The fantasy is that we can create wealth for millions of homeowners by enriching investors, brokerage and mortgage companies and Wall Street bankers "to the fullest extent possible with few boundaries."

Capitalizing on Hope in the Capital

It’s as though we’ve suddenly discovered a new form of Prozac called Obama. Miraculously, millions of depressed progressives have the audacity to hope again....

What the Mermaid Taught Me

Wrestling With Starbucks, by Kim Fellner. Rutgers University
Press, 2008, 283 pp. $24.95 (hardcover).

Radical Liberals

Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life, by Robert B. Reich (2007, Knoph, New York) and The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity, by Robert Kuttner (2007, Knoph, New York.)

Freedom for the Pike

Book Review: Subprime Mortgages: America's Latest Boom and Bust, by Edward M. Gramlich.
Urban Institute Press, 2007, 120 pp. $25.00 (hardcover).

In It Together

The latest book by Bill McKibben, the well-known environmental journalist and activist, poses a provocative question for community economic developers: How do we improve...

Advancing Power

Transforming the City: Community Organizing and the Challenge of Political Change, edited by Marion Orr. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2007, 264 pp....

The ABCs of Organizing

I left a perfectly good job in a curtain factory in Holyoke, Mass., in 1971 to work in a neighborhood organization on the south...

Lessons from a Chicago Saga

After five summers of urban riots, the Kerner Commission Report of 1968 warned of two separate societies-black and white, separate and unequal. It called...

When Goliath Comes

Promise and Betrayal: Universities and the Battle for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods, by John I. Gilderbloom and R.L. Mullins Jr. Albany: State University of New...

Ghetto Salvation

How the Other Half Worships, by Camilo Jose Vergara. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 2005, 304 pp. $49.95 (clothbound).Suppose an alien came to...

A Community Whodunit

The Long Stair: An Albany Mystery, by Kirby White. Fox Creek Press, 2005, 220 pp. $15 (paperback). The Long Stair is available for $15...

Designing Affordable Housing

Good design and affordability are not mutually exclusive, but finding help to bring these two together can be tough.

Thirty Years of Pablo: In His Own Words

Challenges for Nonprofits and Philanthropy: The Courage to Change – Three Decades of Reflections, by Pablo Eisenberg, edited by Stacy Palmer. Tufts University Press,...

Class Ties That Bind

Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists, by Betsy Leondar-Wright. New Society Publishers, 2005, 192 pp. $18.95 (paperback). Just as I was...

Lessons from L.A.'s Progressive Coalitions

The Next L.A.: The Struggle for a Livable City, by Robert Gottlieb, Mark Vallianatos, Regina M. Freer and Peter Dreier, University of California Press,...

Getting Back to the Basics

Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life, by Theda Skocpol. University of Oklahoma Press, 2003, 366 pp, $29.95 (hardcover). The...

The Local-Global Grassroots Connection

Unmaking Goliath: Community Control in the Face of Global Capital, by James DeFilippis. Routledge, 2004. 188 pp. $24.95 (paperback). Contours of Descent, by Robert...

The Rebirth of Urbanism

City: Urbanism and Its End, by Douglas Rae. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003. 432 pp. $30.00 (hardcover).My reaction to Douglas Rae’s City:...

Paradise Lost

When Public Housing Was Paradise: Building Community in Chicago, by J.S. Fuerst. University of Illinois Press. 2004. 264 pp. $20 (paperback). When the...

Second Chances

Workforce Intermediaries for the Twenty-first Century, edited by Robert P. Giloth. Temple University Press in association with The American Assembly, Columbia University, Philadelphia, PA,...

The Rules of Engagement

A Voice for Nonprofits, by Jeffrey M. Berry with David F. Arons. Brookings Institution Press, 2003. 210 pp. $26.95 (hardcover). Jeffrey M. Berry...

The Joy (and Angst) of Organizing

Dynamics of Organizing: Building Power by Developing the Human Spirit, by Shel Trapp. (Self published.) 2003. 144 pp. $20 (paperback.) Available from the National...

Predatory Bender

Predatory Bender: A Story of Subprime Finance, by Matthew Lee. Inner City Press. 2004. 360 pp. $19.95 (paperback).www.atlasbooks.com or www.innercitypress.org/books.html. I have to...

The Fortress of Solitude

The Fortress of Solitude, by Jonathan Lethem. Doubleday. 2003. 528 pp. $26 (hardcover). When I first read excerpts from Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress...

Telling the Community Development Story

Comeback Cities, by Paul Grogan and Tony Proscio. Westview Press (www.westviewpress.com). 2000. 285 pp. $17 (paperback). House by House, Block by Block, by Alexander von...

The Community Economic Development Handbook

The Community Economic Development Handbook: Strategies and Tools to Revitalize Your Neighborhood, by Mihailo Temali. Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (www.wilder.org). 2002. 288 pp. $35...

Community Control Without Tears

Organizing for Community Controlled Development: Renewing Civil Society, by Patricia Watkins Murphy and James V. Cunningham. Sage Publications. 2003. 360 pp. $42.95 (paperback). ...

At Home in a Changing World

Making a Place for Community: Local Democracy in a Global Era, by Thad Williamson, David Imbroscio and Gar Alperovitz. Taylor & Francis, Inc., 2003....

Helping Consumers Become "Swindle-Proof"

The Complete Buyer’s Guide to Manufactured Homes and Land: How to find a reputable dealer and negotiate a fair price on the best kept...

How a City Was Changed Forever

City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco, by Chester Hartman with Sarah Carnochan. Revised and Updated Edition. University of California Press, 2002. 432...

Review of Hands to Work: The Stories of Three Families Racing the Welfare Clock,...

Hands to Work: The Stories of Three Families Racing the Welfare Clock, by LynNell Hancock, William Morrow/HarperCollins, 2002. 320 pp. $13.95 (Paperback, available December...

Boom – The Sound of Eviction

Boom - The Sound of Eviction (96 minutes, 2002), a documentary directed by Francine Cavanaugh, A. Mark Liiv, and Adams Wood. Individuals $20 donation...

Between Eminence & Notoriety: Four Decades of Radical Urban Planning

Between Eminence & Notoriety: Four Decades of Radical Urban Planning, by Chester Hartman, Center for Urban Policy Research, 2002. 405 pp. $29.95 (Paperback), $39.95...

The New Urban Leaders (by Joyce Ladner)

The New Urban Leaders, by Joyce Ladner. Brookings Institution Press, Washington D.C., 2001. 135 pp. $22.95.Kent Amos was an IBM executive who, with his...

Place Matters (Dreier, Mollenkopf, Swanstrom)

Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century, by Peter Dreier, John Mollenkopf and Todd Swanstrom. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2001. 334 pp.This...

Power, Race, and School Reform

The Color of School Reform: Race, Politics and the Challenge of Urban Education, by Jeffrey R. Henig, Richard C. Hula, Marion Orr, and Desiree...

Weaving Storytelling and Theory

Renewing Hope Within Neighborhoods of Despair, by Herbert J. Rubin. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY. 2000. 280 pp.Herbert Rubin, a sociology...

Timeline: A History of Community Development Policy in America

Timeline: A History of Community Development Policy in America, from Development Training Institute. 2001. 90 minutes. $39.95 410-338-2512; info@dtinational.org.Capturing the dynamism and influence of...

Magical Urbanism

Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. Big City, By Mike Davis Verso Press, June 2000 129 pp.Globalization is the overarching theme of our times....

From the Puritans to the Projects

From the Puritans to the Projects: Public Housing and Publlic Neighbors, by Lawrence J. Vale. Howard University Press , 2000 392 pp.Exclusionary zoning, middle...