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City on the Edge: Buffalo, New York, 1900 - Present

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  84 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
In a sweeping narrative that speaks to the serious student of urban studies as well as the general reader, Mark Goldman tells the story of twentieth-century Buffalo, New York. Goldman covers all of the major developments:

• The rise and decline of the city’s downtown and ethnic neighborhoods
• The impact of racial change and suburbanization
• The role and function of the ar
Paperback, 413 pages
Published March 30th 2007 by Prometheus Books (first published March 20th 2007)
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Sep 11, 2008 Danika rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: former/current Buffalonians
I really resisted reading this book as I'm not much of a non-fiction reader. Surprisingly, it wasn't dry at all and I definitely enjoyed it. I learned a ton about the history of Buffalo and even more detail about things I already knew of. It was VERY well-researched. Pretty depressing stuff about the state of the city, though. Mark's final chapter is all hopeful and rosy, but I can't help but think the last 50 years of corruption and misguided "urban renewal" attempts are going to be hard to ove ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Shelves: bflo-wny
This, the 3rd of Goldman's surveys of the economic decline and resultant problems of Buffalo, NY, borrows much from his previous books. Maybe too much? Still, there is little here I would disagree with.
Rick Harrington
Jan 08, 2011 Rick Harrington rated it really liked it
Anybody from Buffalo, or having friends or family from Buffalo, or spending any time in Buffalo, or even those of you who love just to make fun of Buffalo, will be interested in this book. It could have benefited from some more serious editing, but that hardly gets in the way of its overall thesis and presentation. Buffalo is a city that has been great, could have been great, might yet be great, but which never did, never has and probably never will make it into the ranks of truly world class ci ...more
Steven Peterson
Aug 28, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it
Mark Goldman's "City on the Edge" is a history of the past and a look at the possible future of Buffalo, New York. As such, this is a book of real interest to me. I spent four years in Buffalo, studying for my Ph. D. at the (then) State University of New York at Buffalo. For the next twenty plus years, I taught at a university in Western New York and often visited friends in Buffalo or just went there for mini vacations. I start off by saying that I thought that Buffalo had many attractions--but ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Kevin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in Buffalo, the rust belt
This is the third of Goldman's book on Buffalo in the last 25 years. Much of it is an update of his previous book, City by the Lake, and some paragraphs are lifted, it seems, word for word from that book. This is more or less a history of Buffalo since 1900. The first few chapters are less interesting because they are kind of the part of Buffalo's history that everyone knows and are nostalgic about. The strength of this book and of Goldman in general is his tracing of the cultural/artistic histo ...more
Pete Sikora
Nov 11, 2008 Pete Sikora rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: urban history/planning buffs
Sober and interesting analysis turns to floofy civic cheerleading in the book's final chapters. Still a good read, tho.

City on the Edge illuminates the disastrous urban renewal policies that accelerated Buffalo's decline. Lousy, car-centric planning did serious damage. Coupled with massive job losses in manufacturing, it was a disaster for the city.

This book would be great - but the closer it gets to modern times, the more it begins to sound delusional. The author sets great store in the civic
May 11, 2016 Michael rated it liked it
Absorbing history of Buffalo from the time of the Pan American Exposition up to the present. It chronicles the rise and fall of the city well, from the industrial and Great Lakes port glory days through the long decline. The book touches on all kinds of topics, including local politics, industry and business, the arts, the integration of the school system and the role of the University at Buffalo. It is most valuable from the standpoint of city development, showing the changes over time due to t ...more
Sep 13, 2009 John rated it really liked it
Very entertaining and informative, for former Buffalonians, like myself. Interesting story of the Pan American Exhibition, its racism, the assassination of McKinley and its aftermath.

Good portrayal of the city's problems: The downhill trend of economic activity, -- bad luck exacerbated by poor planning: a microcosm of our nation; the story of to big-money stadium sports, corrupt political leadership -- corporate welfare leading to immense waste of resources.

At the same time, the city's great cu
Edwin Gomez
Dec 26, 2012 Edwin Gomez rated it liked it
If you want to know more about the history and the trials and tribulations of Buffalo this book is a great place to start. As an avid lover of all things Buffalo I couldn't wait to read this book, but sadly it took me several weeks to finish it. Inside the 400+ pages there are some great stories and insight into the right and wrongs of a once great city but too often the author goes into serious detail of less interesting aspects of it. He's pretty thorough for the most part, but as a finicky re ...more
Jun 28, 2007 Jacob rated it liked it
The story of Buffalo is gripping and sad. Mark Goldman presents a sometimes astonishingly detailed account of the city's birth, rise, fall, and current state of depressed limbo. While the extent of Goldman's research is clear, his insight is lacking at times; he occasionally falls into the rhetorical potholes of his favored city: blind, boosterish optimism and a clumsy handling of the city's racial issues. That said, the story of Buffalo remains a good read and I would recommend it to anyone who ...more
Sep 10, 2011 Karla rated it liked it
This book will be enjoyed by people who appreciate Buffalo and it's history. There is alot of detail so some may be turned off by it's encompassing specifics. I did like learning of so many references of UB buildings as I was unaware that much of the city's early leaders are now referenced daily at both campuses.
It was frustrating at times to read of past leadership which ruined iconic buildings and thorough-fares. I can only hope that the city is finally moving in the right direction and the n
Nov 28, 2013 Ash rated it liked it
History of Buffalo from the Pan-American Exposition in 1901 through the October blizzard of 2006. I'm still not sure I was interested in this many details, but overall I found the book compelling. Buffalo was once the shit, and now there are just small pockets of awesomeness. Depressing when you take into consideration the amazing location of the city. Wishing I lived in the Buffalo of another era.
Jan 10, 2008 Roma rated it liked it
Shelves: must-read
Sad tale of what Buffalo has been and how far we've fallen from that point. hey, did you know that UB was once considered "the hub of postmodernism?" Yep, in the sixties.
Sep 26, 2013 Jeramey rated it really liked it
Shelves: urbanism, history
Likely the only book on Buffalo I will ever read, and I feel like I might have picked the best. It provided what seems like a comprehensive overview of the city's history.
Jun 30, 2011 Kara rated it really liked it
Shelves: microhistories
Of all the books I've read on history, this one stuck with me the most, since it deals with places I am now within spitting distance of
May 13, 2010 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cities
One of my favorite books I've read about the history, cultural life, rise, decline, and possible rise again of an American city.
Timothy rated it liked it
Feb 28, 2012
Leah Macvie
Leah Macvie rated it liked it
Jul 01, 2011
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E.j. Koeppel
E.j. Koeppel rated it it was amazing
May 12, 2013
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May 25, 2015
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Lou Battaglia rated it liked it
Mar 08, 2013
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Rob Jones rated it liked it
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Chad rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2012
Elina Bravve
Dec 04, 2008 Elina Bravve rated it really liked it
Had no idea that Buffalo was so prominent in terms of the arts throughout the 20th century.
Jmilne rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2015
Caitlin Cass
Caitlin Cass rated it really liked it
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