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The American City: Civic Culture in Sociohistorical Perspective Paperback – Oct 29 1999

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"The American City explores big questions about how we live now with a tantalizing mix of historical and sociological analysis. Although Monti addresses weighty matters that have inspired deep reflections from major social theorists, he does so in a simple, modest, and personal style that is exceptionally engaging." Stephan Thernstrom, Harvard University

"This is a very valuable addition to the literature on urbanism: a blend of sociology, political science, and history; a blend of hope and realism; of capitalism and community; of liberal and conservative perspectives. It amounts to a new ethical philosophy of urbanism by one of the few Americans qualified to write one." Roger Lotchin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Monti's wonderful book illustrates an important theme: if American cities are not Utopia, neither are they the social disaster zones portrayed by their more apocalyptic critics. Extensively researched, The American City is an extended personal reflection on America's urban experience. This appealing and highly readable book will unquestionably stimulate debate and discussion." Paul Boyer, University of Wisconsin

From the Back Cover

  • Does American have a sense of community and a vital civic culture?
  • Are disparate groups capable of uniting as a single people who can call themselves Americans?

  • Do Americans help each other for the common good?
Daniel J. Monti, Jr. addresses these questions in this wide-ranging volume spanning three hundred years of American urban life. He reconciles liberal and conservative viewpoints and responds unequivocally, that "yes", Americans are indeed a community of believers and that a viable and vital civic culture exists in the United States despite notions of difference and apathy. Civic life in the US has been based on a set of rules predicated on prosperity and order as guiding principles to achieve a balance between private lives and the larger public good. The American City brings this notion forward and sheds a positive light on a world that focuses more often on the problems as opposed to the parts that work.

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Years ago I would bring a film to class that compressed into five minutes all the traffic and pedestrians pushing through Times Square, I think, during a 24-hour period. Read the first page
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