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How the Other Half Lives [Paperback]

Jacob Riis
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1971
Jacob Riis was one of the very few men who photographed the slums of New York at the turn of the twentieth century, when as many as 300,000 people per square mile were crowded into the tenements of New York's Lower East Side. The filth and degradation made the area a hell for the immigrants forced to live there. Riis was one of those immigrants, and, after years of abject poverty, when he became a police reporter for the New York Tribune, he exposed the shameful conditions of life with which he was all too familiar. Today, he is best remembered as a compassionate and effective reformer and as a pioneer photo-journalist.
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. Riis originally documented all his studies with photographs. However, since the half-tone technique of photo reproduction had not been perfected, the original edition included mainly reductions in sketch-form of Riis' photographs. These could not begin to capture what Riis' sensitive camera caught on film. The anguish and the apathy, the toughness and the humiliation of the anonymous faces is all but obliterated in the sketches. This Dover edition includes fully 100 photographs, many famous, and many less familiar, from the Riis collection of the City Museum, and their inclusion here creates a closer conformity to Riis' intentions than did the original edition.

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How the Other Half Lives + Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
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About the Author

ABOUT THE EDITOR Lorenzo Domínguez is a best-selling author, writer and an award-winning street photographer. He has written numerous books, interviews and articles about fine art and photography.

Throughout most of 2010, his book, 25 Lessons I've Learned about photography Life! has been the #1 Best Selling Photo Essay on Paul Giguere, guru for the popular podcast thoughts on photography, considers 25 Lessons one of the "classic" essays on photography. For more information go to

In October of 2010, Lorenzo served as the NYC photography adviser for the recently launched Microsoft foursquare photography app. In 2008, he was chosen to be the HP Be Brilliant Featured Artist. He has been called an "Internet photography sensation" by Time Out New York and is considered a "Flickr star" by Rob Walker, Consumed columnist, for New York Times Magazine. His work is represented worldwide by Getty Images. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
THE first tenement New York knew bore the mark of Cain from its birth, though a generation bassed before the writing was deciphered. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful Oct. 12 1998
By A Customer
Riis's work is an amazing picture of life in the New York slums. While the text in itself is quite interesting, the photos are perhaps the most gripping aspect of the book. To see the tiny, crowded rooms populated by unreal numbers of people and the eyes of hungry children that stare out of the picture and are still imploring a century later is a powerful experience; Riis's book allows one to get very close to the misery these people felt. This book is not for the soft-hearted, as it is a very grim depection of life, such as it was for these immigrants.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book so much April 16 1999
By A Customer
I really think this book was interested. we had to read it in our english class and everyone seemed to like it alot.I think that what they did to the peolpe was wrong and people should not be treated in such bad manners like that. I woyld not last long in there life time i would end up dead in a few days. I wish there was something someone could of did for those helpless people. I know that I had the chance I would help them live in an enviorment best for them.
thank you
amanda brayton
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible pictures! Oct. 9 2001
I used this book along with another Riis book for a U.S. History project at school. Both this book and Low Life were an incredible help. The pictures are incredible. Riis was the first to show this side of life in NYC during the first part of the century. His books are by far the best pictoral records of the time. I highly recomend this book for anyone interested in the early part of the century or anyone who needs information for school projects.
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