High-Risers by Ben Austen audiobook

High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing

By Ben Austen
Read by Ron Butler

HarperAudio, HarperCollins 9780062235060
13.55 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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Joining the ranks of Evicted, The Warmth of Other Sons, and classic works of literary non-fiction by Alex Kotlowitz and J. Anthony Lukas, High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project. Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of 20,000—all of it packed onto just seventy acres a few blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, it was also a much-needed resource—it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed, the island of black poverty engulfed by the white affluence around it, the families dispersed. In this novelistic and eye-opening narrative, Ben Austen tells the story of America’s public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told movingly though the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the housing complex’s demise. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and full of moving portraits, High-Risers is a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor—and what we can learn from those mistakes.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Joining the ranks of Evicted, The Warmth of Other Sons, and classic works of literary non-fiction by Alex Kotlowitz and J. Anthony Lukas, High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project.

Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of 20,000—all of it packed onto just seventy acres a few blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, it was also a much-needed resource—it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed, the island of black poverty engulfed by the white affluence around it, the families dispersed.

In this novelistic and eye-opening narrative, Ben Austen tells the story of America’s public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told movingly though the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the housing complex’s demise. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and full of moving portraits, High-Risers is a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor—and what we can learn from those mistakes.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Author Ben Austen and narrator Ron Butler create something special in this outstanding examination of Chicago’s Cabrini–Green housing projects. Butler captures the characters of residents, cops, housing officials, and others…What Austen and Butler do so well is counter the worn narrative of Cabrini–Green as a place of urban blight, poverty, and violence…This is a fine, sympathetic portrait of a place and its people…Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” AudioFile
”Austen’s impressive study…offers a local history of profound national relevance…Throughout his painstaking chronology of the housing project and parallel Chicago and US history, Austen intersperses biographies of several former residents…Austen’s fascinating narrative demands much consideration.” Booklist (starred review)
“Provides many powerful insights…A weighty and robust history of a people disappeared from their own community.” Kirkus Reviews
“An instructive guide, or, perhaps more importantly, a cautionary tale about a failed attempt to provide affordable housing for the poor.” Publishers Weekly
“Austen’s intimate portrait of the neighborhood follows individual residents from the halcyon days of sparkling new construction and optimism to the final hours before demolition.…[in this] finely crafted biography of an urban community." Library Journal
“Ben Austen’s High-Risers is not merely the definitive history of the life and death of America’s most iconic housing project, but a clear-eyed assessment of what happened to public housing as a national ideal and why it happened. We now live in a time when every meaningful attempt at a collective response to any societal need is near impossible. As a people, Americans are not good at sharing. And more specifically, given the national pathology of race, we are entirely unwilling to share with Them, the Other. Austen’s careful narrative of Cabrini-Green tells that tale.” David Simon, creator of The Wire

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Ben Austen

Author Bio: Ben Austen

Ben Austen has written for many publications, including Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, GQ, and New York magazine. He lives in Chicago.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 13.55
Audience: Adult
Language: English