100 books like Manufacturing Decline

By Jason Hackworth,

Here are 100 books that Manufacturing Decline fans have personally recommended if you like Manufacturing Decline. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

Kevin H. Wozniak Author Of The Politics of Crime Prevention: Race, Public Opinion, and the Meaning of Community Safety

From my list on racism and the politics of public investment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I first visited a prison during college and was shocked by its horrific conditions, I’ve been fascinated with America’s punitiveness—our tolerance for harsh, dehumanizing punishments. I pursued a Ph.D. in criminology in order to better understand the politics of crime and justice. I am constantly searching for “political space” within which to pursue meaningful criminal justice reform without provoking a punitive backlash. I was previously an associate professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and I am now a lecturer in criminology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.

Kevin's book list on racism and the politics of public investment

Kevin H. Wozniak Why did Kevin love this book?

I loved The Sum of Us because it tells the political and economic history of race relations and investment in public infrastructure, benefits, and services in a readable and accessible manner. 

McGhee recounts shocking stories of the ways that, in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, hundreds of communities across the United States—governed by White people—chose to close or bulldoze public amenities like pools, parks, and campgrounds rather than desegregate them.

This is a sad story of the way that a generation of White Americans cut off their own nose to spite their face. In the decades since, more and more local amenities because privatized and fee-based, making it harder for poor and working-class people of all races to enjoy their communities.

By Heather McGhee,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Sum of Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • One of today’s most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone—not just for people of color.

WINNER OF THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, The Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ms. magazine, BookRiot, Library Journal

“This is the book I’ve been waiting for.”—Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist

Look for…


Book cover of The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War on Poverty

Kevin H. Wozniak Author Of The Politics of Crime Prevention: Race, Public Opinion, and the Meaning of Community Safety

From my list on racism and the politics of public investment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I first visited a prison during college and was shocked by its horrific conditions, I’ve been fascinated with America’s punitiveness—our tolerance for harsh, dehumanizing punishments. I pursued a Ph.D. in criminology in order to better understand the politics of crime and justice. I am constantly searching for “political space” within which to pursue meaningful criminal justice reform without provoking a punitive backlash. I was previously an associate professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and I am now a lecturer in criminology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.

Kevin's book list on racism and the politics of public investment

Kevin H. Wozniak Why did Kevin love this book?

The Color of Welfare is a classic text on the history of American social policy.

The American welfare state was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the wake of the Great Depression. Quadagno explains how Roosevelt compromised with conservative southern members of Congress in order to enact the New Deal into law. These consequences shaped early anti-poverty policies in ways that disproportionately excluded African Americans by design. 

Quadagno then traces how this legacy of racially discriminatory social policymaking continued through President Johnson’s War on Poverty in the 1960s. The Color of Welfare taught me why the American welfare state is so underdeveloped compared to the nations of Western Europe and why it is characterized by so many racial disparities.

By Jill Quadagno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Color of Welfare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Reconstruction to Lyndon Johnson and beyond, Jill Quadagno reveals how American social policy has continuously foundered on issues of race. She draws on extensive primary research to show how social programmes became entwined with the civil rights movement and subsequently suffered by association at the hands of a white backlash.


Book cover of Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy

Kevin H. Wozniak Author Of The Politics of Crime Prevention: Race, Public Opinion, and the Meaning of Community Safety

From my list on racism and the politics of public investment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I first visited a prison during college and was shocked by its horrific conditions, I’ve been fascinated with America’s punitiveness—our tolerance for harsh, dehumanizing punishments. I pursued a Ph.D. in criminology in order to better understand the politics of crime and justice. I am constantly searching for “political space” within which to pursue meaningful criminal justice reform without provoking a punitive backlash. I was previously an associate professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and I am now a lecturer in criminology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.

Kevin's book list on racism and the politics of public investment

Kevin H. Wozniak Why did Kevin love this book?

Why Americans Hate Welfare has been very influential to my own scholarship. 

Gilens examined a paradox: a majority of Americans consistently express support for government spending to aid people experiencing poverty, but a majority also consistently express opposition to welfare—which is, itself, government spending to fight poverty! 

Through a careful analysis of data, Gilens demonstrates that Americans hate welfare because they associate that word with the stereotype that African Americans are lazy and prefer to live off government handouts rather than work. 

Think about President Reagan’s infamous condemnation of “welfare queens.” Gilens’ book is one of the clearest examples I’ve encountered of the ways that cynical political appeals to racism can sabotage public support for government spending for the common good.

By Martin Gilens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why Americans Hate Welfare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on surveys of public attitudes and analyses of more than 40 years of television and newsmagazine stories on poverty, this book demonstrates how public opposition to welfare is fed by a potent combination of racial stereotypes and misinformation about the true nature of America's poor. But the answer isn't simply that white Americans oppose welfare because they think it benefits blacks; rather, they think it benefits "undeserving" blacks who would rather live off the government than work, a perception powerfully fuelled by the media's negative coverage of the black poor. Martin Gilens not only examines public opinion and public…


Book cover of The Government-Citizen Disconnect

Kevin H. Wozniak Author Of The Politics of Crime Prevention: Race, Public Opinion, and the Meaning of Community Safety

From my list on racism and the politics of public investment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I first visited a prison during college and was shocked by its horrific conditions, I’ve been fascinated with America’s punitiveness—our tolerance for harsh, dehumanizing punishments. I pursued a Ph.D. in criminology in order to better understand the politics of crime and justice. I am constantly searching for “political space” within which to pursue meaningful criminal justice reform without provoking a punitive backlash. I was previously an associate professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and I am now a lecturer in criminology at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.

Kevin's book list on racism and the politics of public investment

Kevin H. Wozniak Why did Kevin love this book?

I love The Government-Citizen Disconnect because it examines the relationship between social policy and politics. 

Mettler demonstrates that over 90% of Americans receive financial benefits from the government, but most of these are submerged in the tax code (like the home mortgage interest deduction). People who only receive submerged benefits believe that the government does little to improve their personal lives. In contrast, the more antipathy they feel toward people who receive visible government benefits (like food stamps), the more they also express cynical, negative attitudes toward government in general.

Since White Americans are more likely to receive submerged benefits than Americans of color, this pattern fuels racialized “us vs. them” attitudes when, in fact, the government financially buffers most Americans from the full costs of the free market in a variety of ways.

By Suzanne Mettler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Government-Citizen Disconnect as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Americans’ relationship to the federal government is paradoxical. Polls show that public opinion regarding the government has plummeted to all-time lows, with only one in five saying they trust the government or believe that it operates in their interest. Yet, at the same time, more Americans than ever benefit from some form of government social provision. Political scientist Suzanne Mettler calls this growing gulf between people’s perceptions of government and the actual role it plays in their lives the "government-citizen disconnect." In The Government-Citizen Disconnect, she explores the rise of this phenomenon and its implications for policymaking and politics.

Drawing…


Book cover of Animal City: The Domestication of America

Catherine McNeur Author Of Taming Manhattan: Environmental Battles in the Antebellum City

From my list on histories of nature in unexpected places.

Why am I passionate about this?

Catherine McNeur is an award-winning historian, interested in the ways that issues of power impact how humans understand and transform their environments. She has long found the books, art, and other creative expressions that mischievously push at the edges of what we consider “nature” compelling, whether it’s a celebration of the beauty of weeds in an abandoned lot or nature writing on the flora in our guts. After having written about social and environmental battles in New York City, she is now researching the lives, work, and erasure of two forgotten female scientists from nineteenth-century Philadelphia. She lives in Oregon where she is a professor at Portland State University.

Catherine's book list on histories of nature in unexpected places

Catherine McNeur Why did Catherine love this book?

I love the way Andrew Robichaud brings to life the animal ghosts that haunt our modern cities. In ways that we often forget today, animals were integral to the development of urban spaces in ways that were much more visible in the nineteenth century, whether they were horses pulling carriages or pigs and cows herded down the street toward slaughterhouses. The laws governing how cities were organized typically began with debates over where animals were welcome. Robichaud does a great job of recreating the ecologically diverse nineteenth-century American cities in ways that make it easier to understand urban spaces and our relationships with animals today.

By Andrew A. Robichaud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animal City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do America's cities look the way they do? If we want to know the answer, we should start by looking at our relationship with animals.

Americans once lived alongside animals. They raised them, worked them, ate them, and lived off their products. This was true not just in rural areas but also in cities, which were crowded with livestock and beasts of burden. But as urban areas grew in the nineteenth century, these relationships changed. Slaughterhouses, dairies, and hog ranches receded into suburbs and hinterlands. Milk and meat increasingly came from stores, while the family cow and pig gave…


Book cover of The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Michael Batty Author Of The Computable City: Histories, Technologies, Stories, Predictions

From my list on cities that are not what they seem.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are as many ways of thinking about cities as there are people who live in them, and by the end of this century, it is clear we will all be living in cities of one size or another. Cities are in effect the crucibles where all technological and cultural change takes place. They are the drivers of prosperity while also the harbingers of chaos, decline, and war. What makes them fascinating is that as soon as we begin to peel back the layers that compose the city, our understanding of them begins to change: they metamorphose into different conceptions where there is no agreement as to what they are or what they might become.

Michael's book list on cities that are not what they seem

Michael Batty Why did Michael love this book?

Often hailed as the greatest book on cities ever, Jane Jacob’s critique of modernism and the rapid spreading out of the city through urban sprawl goes to the heart of what cities are all about. Her description of New York and other North American cities in terms of their diversity and cultural richness elevates the way we build our cities from the bottom up in the face of modernist planning that imposes an artificial order from the top down.

Her book is not only a critique of planning but a logic of how we should understand the complexity of cities as they continue to evolve and embrace new technologies.

By Jane Jacobs,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Death and Life of Great American Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic text, Jane Jacobs set out to produce an attack on current city planning and rebuilding and to introduce new principles by which these should be governed. The result is one of the most stimulating books on cities ever written.

Throughout the post-war period, planners temperamentally unsympathetic to cities have been let loose on our urban environment. Inspired by the ideals of the Garden City or Le Corbusier's Radiant City, they have dreamt up ambitious projects based on self-contained neighbourhoods, super-blocks, rigid 'scientific' plans and endless acres of grass. Yet they seldom stop to look at what actually…


Book cover of Restorative Cities: Urban Design for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Sara Jensen Carr Author Of The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Shaped the American Landscape

From my list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of architecture, urbanism, and landscape at Northeastern University in Boston, as well as a licensed architect and urban designer. I’ve always been fascinated by the ways the design of the world affects our decision-making, health, and opportunities, from the early days of my career designing hospitals to my current work researching and designing for green space equity and considering how we design in the age of pandemics and climate change. I hope these books, as well as my own writing and work, empower people to understand, ask for, and co-design healthier environments wherever they live, work, and play.

Sara's book list on creating, building, and thinking about healthier places

Sara Jensen Carr Why did Sara love this book?

I didn’t discuss mental health in my own book, simply because the topic so vast and nuanced it really needs a book of its own. Luckily, it’s comprehensively discussed in this new volume, with chapters such as “The green city,” “The active city,” and “The playable city.” There are several concrete examples here from the authors’ own research into “neurourbanism,” or the application of neuroscience to urban design and planning, which are fascinating to read. An overarching theme, which I have found in my own research as well, is that the more access everyone has to nature and parks, the more beneficial it is for better mental and physical health. 

By Jenny Roe, Layla McCay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Restorative Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Overcrowding, noise and air pollution, long commutes and lack of daylight can take a huge toll on the mental well-being of city-dwellers. With mental healthcare services under increasing pressure, could a better approach to urban design and planning provide a solution? The restrictions faced by city residents around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought home just how much urban design can affect our mental health - and created an imperative to seize this opportunity. Restorative Cities explores a new way of designing cities, one which places mental health and wellness at the forefront. Establishing a blueprint for urban…


Book cover of Baltimore Revisited: Stories of Inequality and Resistance in a U.S. City

Mary Rizzo Author Of Come and Be Shocked: Baltimore Beyond John Waters and the Wire

From my list on why Baltimore's problems are so hard to fix.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cultural historian of 20th century America, I’m fascinated by how culture is used to rebel against the status quo and how the status quo fights back. In my first book, Class Acts: Young Men and the Rise of Lifestyle, I looked at greasers, hippies, and white hip hop lovers to understand how they used style and fashion to push back against being white and middle class. In Come and Be Shocked: Baltimore Beyond John Waters and The Wire, I went beyond looking at how individuals shape their identity to thinking about how artists and city leaders shape the identity of a place. Can artists counter the efforts of cities to create sanitized images of themselves?

Mary's book list on why Baltimore's problems are so hard to fix

Mary Rizzo Why did Mary love this book?

The history that matters most to me is the history that can help explain the world we live in now. The editors of Baltimore Revisited, a collection of brilliant essays about the city, takes that to heart. Fascinating chapters trace the War on Drugs back to the 1910s, when the city outlawed cocaine, examine how Johns Hopkins University’s growth has displaced Black residents for decades, and surprise us with the fact that Maryland was home to the longest-running movie censorship board in the country (which only closed shop in 1981). More than curiosities, though, these authors reveal how race, gender, sexuality, and class have affected Baltimore.

Most importantly, the book focuses on how everyday people fought back against discrimination through acts as varied as pickets against segregation to dancing in gay bars. The book is good history, yes, but also a call to action. 

By P. Nicole King (editor), Kate Drabinski (editor), Joshua Clark Davis (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baltimore Revisited as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nicknamed both "Mobtown" and "Charm City" and located on the border of the North and South, Baltimore is a city of contradictions. From media depictions in The Wire to the real-life trial of police officers for the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore has become a quintessential example of a struggling American city. Yet the truth about Baltimore is far more complicated-and more fascinating.

To help untangle these apparent paradoxes, the editors of Baltimore Revisited have assembled a collection of over thirty experts from inside and outside academia. Together, they reveal that Baltimore has been ground zero for a slew of…


Book cover of The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City

Leah Modigliani Author Of Counter Revanchist Art in the Global City: Walls, Blockades, and Barricades as Repertoires of Creative Action

From my list on moving through the city with newly critical eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the age of seven, I've been conscious of the need to bypass how one is supposed to do things. I realized then that my grandmother could not pursue a writing career because she was also a woman and a wife; a cautionary tale I took to heart since I was already beginning to identify as an artist. I'm driven to uncover how we recognize what we see, and how forces beyond our control engender or foreclose upon new ways of being in the world. A professional life lived in the arts has allowed the fullest flexibility for exploring these ideas as one is generally encouraged to think differently.

Leah's book list on moving through the city with newly critical eyes

Leah Modigliani Why did Leah love this book?

This is the book that launched a thousand essays about gentrification in urban neighborhoods and reinvented the term “revanchism” for use in critical geography.

From the French noun revanche, revanchism refers to a policy or movement focused on reacquiring a nation's lost territory. The Revanchist City as it became known after Smith’s book, describes city residents under siege by their own city governments.

Starting with a description of the battles over who could use Tompkins Square Park in New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1980s and 90s, and moving on to other case studies (some global), Smith shows how cities are transformed into zones of international capital investment and class privilege through neoliberal policies enacted at the municipal level. 

By Neil Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New Urban Frontier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why have so many central and inner cities in Europe, North America and Australia been so radically revamped in the last three decades, converting urban decay into new chic? Will the process continue in the twenty-first century or has it ended? What does this mean for the people who live there? Can they do anything about it?
This book challenges conventional wisdom, which holds gentrification to be the simple outcome of new middle-class tastes and a demand for urban living. It reveals gentrification as part of a much larger shift in the political economy and culture of the late twentieth…


Book cover of Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness

Winter Miller Author Of Not a Cat: A Memoir

From my list on memoirs by very sexy writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised by activist feminist parents and schooled by Quakers, I am surprisingly amusing. Eartha Kitt once held my left hand for five minutes. I work primarily as a playwright; Not a Cat is my first children’s book! Now when I show up at a little kid’s birthday instead of bringing a play I wrote, I can give the tot age-appropriate reading material. For me, reading a memoir is this intimate exchange with a writer where they’ve shared everything, and I’ve revealed nothing. What’s better than a good story beautifully curated? Okay, a cookie, but that’s it. I hope my book reaches all the kids out there who are told: be less this and more that

Winter's book list on memoirs by very sexy writers

Winter Miller Why did Winter love this book?

This is sort of a cheat of the assignment, because it’s not Anastasia Higginbotham’s actual lived experience, but it is not one unfamiliar to her, about growing up in a country in which white parents cover up racism even unintentionally. I’ve known Anastasia for 30 years and no less than six children’s books she’s published. Her book series, Ordinary Terrible Things, published by dottir press is among my favorites because the illustrations are collaged and stunning and she creates indelible characters. Her other kid’s books deal with divorce (Divorce is Stupid), sex (Talk to Me about Sex, Grandma), incest (You Ruined It), so you can see, she’s doesn’t pull punches. Book by book, Anastasia is building a more just and beautiful world. Like the others, on this list, she’s also hot. 

By Anastasia Higginbotham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not My Idea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An honest explanation about how power and privilege factor into the lives of white children, at the expense of other groups, and how they can help seek justice. -THE NEW YORK TIMES

ONE OF HUFFPOST'S RECOMMENDED "ANTI-RACIST BOOKS FOR KIDS AND TEENS"

**A WHITE RAVEN 2019 SELECTION**

NAMED ONE OF SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL'S BEST BOOKS OF 2018

Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness is a picture book about racism and racial justice, inviting white children and parents to become curious about racism, accept that it's real, and cultivate justice.

This book does a phenomenal job of explaining how power…


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