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Urban Villagers: Group and Class in the Life of Italian-Americans

Urban Villagers: Group and Class in the Life of Italian-Americans - Herbert J. Gans An immigrant neighborhood is slated for destruction and no one can stop it. Even though they failed, no one forgot, and 30 years later a newspaper dedicated to the neighborhood was still in circulation.
Leonard Nimoy ("Spock") had also grown up in that neighborhood.

The writer of Urban Villagers, Gans, was suddenly a full professor at Harvard, when that apparently still meant something. Harvard had (has?) a policy of only giving full professorships to full professors of exceptional merit from other universities.

He arrived in Cambridge as a kind of economic immigrant himself. He describes the Italian-American neighborhood which existed not far from an as yet surviving Italian-American neighborhood which received such extreme praise in [b:The Death and Life of Great American Cities|30833|The Death and Life of Great American Cities|Jane Jacobs|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1168135326s/30833.jpg|1289564]. In that book, Jacobs mainly praises a similar neighborhood for its visual compactness and street layouts optimized for scrutinizing neighbors. A certain amount of such sociological analysis can be ascribed to Italian-American outlooks. Otherwise it would seem laughable for itinerant professors to idealize Boston's tiny neighborhood fiefdoms.

As in a lot of cases, this is a niche academic book which is still highly accessible, but not populist enough to garner ratings on Goodreads. Eye-opening, profound, it helps explain how differences in economic mobility and ways of analyzing the world, inside vs. outside a "village", make survival of an entire village impossible.