• Ghetto

  • The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea
  • By: Mitchell Duneier
  • Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (131 ratings)

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Ghetto  By  cover art

Ghetto

By: Mitchell Duneier
Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
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Publisher's Summary

On March 29, 1516, the city council of Venice issued a decree forcing Jews to live in il geto - a closed quarter named for the copper foundry that once occupied the area. The term stuck.

In this sweeping and original interpretation, Mitchell Duneier traces the idea of the ghetto from its beginnings in the 16th century and its revival by the Nazis to the present. As Duneier shows, we cannot understand the entanglements of race, poverty, and place in America today without recalling the history of the ghetto in Europe, as well as later efforts to understand the problems of the American city.

This is the story of the scholars and activists who tried to achieve that understanding. Their efforts to wrestle with race and poverty in their times cannot be divorced from their individual biographies, which often included direct encounters with prejudice and discrimination in the academy and elsewhere. Using new and forgotten sources, Duneier introduces us to Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake, graduate students whose conception of the South Side of Chicago established a new paradigm for thinking about Northern racism and poverty in the 1940s. We learn how the psychologist Kenneth Clark subsequently linked Harlem's slum conditions with the persistence of black powerlessness in the civil rights era, and we follow the controversy over Daniel Patrick Moynihan's report on the black family. We see how the sociologist William Julius Wilson redefined the debate about urban America as middle-class African Americans increasingly escaped the ghetto and the country retreated from racially specific remedies. And we trace the education reformer Geoffrey Canada's efforts to transform the lives of inner-city children with ambitious interventions, even as other reformers sought to help families escape their neighborhoods altogether.

Ghetto offers a clear-eyed assessment of the thinkers and doers who have shaped American ideas about urban poverty and the ghetto. The result is a valuable new understanding of an age-old concept.

©2016 Mitchell Duneier (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Ghetto

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

Impressive

A ghetto is thought of as an enclosed area of cities that society places those they perceive as undesirable groups. Duneler tells the history of ghettos, not only the space but the concept of them. In Europe, the undesirables were primarily Jews; in America, it was African Americans.

I was fascinated to learn that Jews were the first to be confined. Duneler tells about Venice in 1516 where Jews were forced by decree into confinement behind high walls of the Ghetto Nuovo, an island named after a copper foundry called Geto. Rome and the rest of Italy followed as the Catholic Church deemed the Jewish faith a threat to Christianity. He tells how Napoleon set out to demolish the Ghettoes of Western Europe.

I found the history and sociology intriguing. I was most interested in Europe because I knew less about it. But Duneler’s book was 90% about the United States treatment of the Blacks and only 10% about Europe.

The book was well written and researched. I found it very easy to read. Duneler has a way of writing that makes complex material easy and a delight to read. I felt this was an important book to read at this time due to all the vitriol currently in this country.

Prentice Onayemi does a good job narrating the book. Onayemi is an author, voice over artist and audiobook narrator.


5 people found this helpful

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I read to understand

This book helped me to understand the patterns of history in the US and in the world. It helped me to understand that capitalism and socialism are the same poison with different names.

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A collection of blueprints

Considering all that we've gone through, the timing of this book (for me), was perfect. It was published in 2016 (I listened in 2022) and the state of the US in the aftermath of diametrically opposing presidential administrations, continues proving the fact that it takes a "lift all boats" position to raise the standard of living for Black and brown Americans.
We still have to fight white supremacy to support policies that help Black and brown Americans, even when they will help poor whites. I hope we get to a point where we don't have to expend so much energy to make others realize that we're in this together, we don't have to exist immersed in animosity with whites who think we're in competition. Black folks want the same rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We deserve it, too.

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Review of “Ghetto”

Highly articulated and informative book deserving lot of credibility in its presentation.
Highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the issues of Ghetto concept and its progressive interpretations and the influences that came about to play, leaving the subject still a melting pot of racial divide in this country.

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A must-read

I’m biased because I read some of the authors referenced in grad school. Even still, the author does a great job at laying out the concept of the ghetto historically and sociologically. The author gives voices at time to (ideological) minority view points. Be prepared to take notes. This is not a book you simply listen to. It’s a great entry point to other intellectually compelling texts. Great narration and short enough of a read to finish in a day or two.

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Deeply insightful

Extremely valuable description that clarifies the history of ghettos and how their creations have impacted society today. Well worth the time investment.

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Ghetto

The historical description of ghetto is very interesting. A lot of thought provoking theories on its’ origins and morphing through the centuries.

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Hard Facts and a Good Story

Hard facts about the formation and continuation of the "ghetto". Everyone needs to hear and read for clarity on why this idea turned reality even exists. The author and the narrator were successful in presenting this in a good story so it didnt sound like just a reference or history book.

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One Of The Best Books On The Subject

A very thorough and elegantly written account of the formation, and historical methods of maintaining the concept of modern day ghettos, both here in the US and abroad. The author invites readers into the thought provoking socio - political understanding of not only the composition of the ghetto and what that entailed for those who lived there, but brillantly answers the 5W's relating to the subject. A must have in your collection.

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Amazing

Excellent balance of research interpretation, history, criticism, both from contemporaries and from modern writers, and humanization of researchers.