Shelf Help: 'The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation'

A look at the powerful forces dividing America's third-largest city into different worlds.
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The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation. (Photo: St. Martin's Press)

The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation. (Photo: St. Martin's Press)

The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Natalie Y. Moore
St. Martin’s Press

Chicago is one of America's most racially diverse cities—and one of its most segregated. The city has roughly equal proportions of blacks, whites, and Latinos. But, with very few exceptions, these groups don't live together. Natalie Y. Moore, a respected public radio reporter, interweaves insights into this segregation's causes and effects with glimpses of her family's history on the city's predominantly black South Side. There's an interesting personal thread too: Moore bought her first apartment in the historically black Bronzeville neighborhood, hoping to ride a wave of revitalization. The wave never came; her mortgage went under, and eventually she got out, opting for the more integrated Hyde Park. The book feels a little too much like a sequence of short radio takes, but Moore strikes an admirable balance between palpable love for Chicago's diversities and clear-eyed anger at the powerful forces dividing America's third-largest city into different worlds.

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