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Public Turmoil, Then and Now

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I’ve been enjoying Anthony Flint’s Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York’s Master Builder and Transformed the American City. Jacobs is one of the seminal figures from the great age of American dissent – The Death and Life of Great American Cities, appeared in 1961, just before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique (1963). Flint’s book about Jacobs’ assault on bulldozer-led “urban renewal” is an eminently readable re-creation of one of the great controversies of New York City in the 1950s and early 1960s. As an