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Philadelphia Divided: Race and Politics in the City of Brotherly Love
In a detailed study of life and politics in Philadelphia between the 1930s and the 1950s, James Wolfinger demonstrates how racial tensions in working-class neighborhoods and job sites shaped the contours of mid-twentieth-century liberal and conservative politics. As racial divisions fractured the working class, he argues, Republican leaders exploited these racial fissures ...more
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published November 26th 2007 by University of North Carolina Press
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As a new Philadelphian, I wanted to understand the historical reasons for such dramatic segregation in our urban landscape, and upon seeing a colleague reading this, I was inspired to pick up the same book to educate myself about my adopted city. Wolfinger has contributed solidly to the historical scholarship on twentieth-century Philadelphia, with a detailed treatment of political and labor figures. It is a Philadelphia story, with rough edges and certainly not a pleasant topic, but it made pla ...more
Philadelphia Divided is informative, yet rather juvenile in its writing and overall presentation. Wolfinger paints a relatively accurate picture of mid-century race relations in Philadelphia, yet fails to satisfactorily explore its complexities; there is no subtlety to be had here.