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Foremother of new urbanism, Jacobs is best remembered for Death and Life of Great American Cities, and for her showdown with the imperious Robert Moses, one that halted construction of a Detroit style expressway, that would have eviscerated lower Manhattan. Writer first, but self taught scientist, planner, and economist, Jacobs left New York City in 1968, along with her family (including 2 draft eligible sons). Her activism against urban "renewal" projects continued for another four decades. A marvelous and surprising look at a thinker whose ideas were often disparaged by the established city builders in their day, but are now orthodoxy.— From Carla's Picks
The first major biography of the irrepressible woman who changed the way we view and live in cities, and whose influence is felt to this day.
Jane Jacobs was a phenomenal woman who wrote seven groundbreaking books, saved neighborhoods, stopped expressways, was arrested twice, and engaged in thousands of impassioned debates—all of which she won. Robert Kanigel's revelatory portrait of Jacobs, based on new sources and interviews, brings to life the child who challenged her third-grade teacher; the high school poet; the mother who raised three children; the journalist who honed her skills at Architectural Forum and Fortune before writing her most famous book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities; and the activist who helped lead a successful protest against Robert Moses’s proposed expressway through her beloved Greenwich Village.
Best Books of the Year, NPR
Top Ten Art Books of the Year, Booklist
Top Ten Architecture Books of the Year, World Architecture
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction
“A powerful and all too rare biography of the making of a female public intellectual. . . . Thrilling.”—Fresh Air (NPR)
“Kanigel has written the definitive Jacobs biography . . . in prose that is as lively as her own.” —The Washington Post
“Sparkling. . . . Magisterial. . . . An exhaustively researched, beautifully rendered tale, revealing the human contours of a vigorous, original mind.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A portrait emerges of an independent heroine who stepped into an arena dominated by men. She was Betty Friedan, Rachel Carson, and Erin Brockovich all rolled into one.” —Boston Globe
“[Kanigel delivers] fast-paced and nuanced storytelling in a crisp prose style that engages the reader. . . . This most complete biography of Jane Jacobs to date is a treat to read.” —The New York Journal of Books
“Zestfully illuminating and entertaining . . . Kanigel’s delight in his subject . . . shimmers on every page.” —Booklist (starred review)
“[Jane Jacobs] was great, and Kanigel gives her the great biography she deserves.” —Edward Glaeser, The American Scholar