Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cities withour Suburbs or Bay of Pigs Declassified

Cities withour Suburbs: Census 2000

Author: David Rusk

Cities without Suburbs, first published in 1993, has become an influential analysis of America's cities among city planners, scholars, and citizens alike. In it, David Rusk, the former mayor of Albuquerque, argues that America must end the isolation of the central city from its suburbs in order to attack its urban problems.

Rusk's analysis, extending back to 1950, covers 522 central cities in 320 metro areas of the United States. He finds that cities trapped within old boundaries have suffered severe racial segregation and the emergence of an urban underclass. But cities with annexation powers -- -- termed "elastic" by Rusk -- -- have shared in area-wide development.

This third edition is among the first books of any kind to employ information from the 2000 U.S. census. While refining his argument with this new data, Rusk assesses the major trends of the 1990s, including the perceived rebound of central cities, the impact of Hispanic and Asian migration, the growing similarities of older "inner-ring" suburbs to central cities, and the emerging influence of faith-based movements. New recommendations take account of growing restrictions on cities' annexation powers, even in the Southwestern United States, and of new opportunities for federal shaping of home mortgage programs and urban planning processes. Rusk's conclusion stresses cities' growing experience with building political coalitions in pursuit of development and growth.

Table of Contents:
Introduction: Framing the Issue1
ILessons from Urban America5
Lesson 1The real city is the total metropolitan area - city and suburb5
Lesson 2Most of America's blacks, Hispanics, and Asians live in urban areas7
Lesson 3Since World War II, urban growth has been low-density, suburban style7
Lesson 4For a city's population to grow, the city must be elastic9
Lesson 5Almost all metro areas have grown14
Lesson 6Low-density cities can grow through in-fill; high-density cities cannot16
Lesson 7Elastic cities expand their city limits; inelastic cities do not17
Lesson 8Bad state laws can hobble cities17
Lesson 9Neighbors can trap cities19
Lesson 10Old cities are complacent; young cities are ambitious22
Lesson 11Racial prejudice has shaped growth patterns23
Lesson 12Elastic cities capture suburban growth; inelastic cities contribute to suburban growth25
Lesson 13Elastic cities gain population; inelastic cities lose population28
Lesson 14When a city stops growing, it starts shrinking30
Lesson 15Inelastic areas are more segregated than elastic areas30
Lesson 16Major immigration increases Hispanic segregation33
Lesson 17Highly racially segregated regions are also highly economically segregated regions33
Lesson 18Inelastic cities have wide income gaps with their suburbs; elastic cities maintain greater city-suburb balance34
Lesson 19Poverty is more disproportionately concentrated in inelastic cities than in elastic cities36
Lesson 20Little boxes regions foster segregation; Big Box regions facilitate integration38
Lesson 21Little boxes school districts foster segregation; Big Box school districts facilitate integration40
Lesson 22Inelastic areas were harder hit by deindustrialization of the American labor market42
Lesson 23Elastic areas had faster rates of nonfactory job creation than inelastic areas43
Lesson 24Elastic areas showed greater real income gains than inelastic areas44
Lesson 25Elastic cities have better bond ratings than inelastic cities45
Lesson 26Elastic areas have a higher educated workforce than inelastic areas46
IICharacteristics of Metropolitan Areas51
The Point of (Almost) No Return78
Cities without Suburbs83
IIIStrategies for Stretching Cities89
Three Essential Regional Policies89
Metro Government: A Definition91
State Government's Crucial Role93
Federal Government: Leveling the Playing Field114
AppCentral Cities and Metro Areas by Elasticity Category139
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars155

Interesting book: Leader in You or The Memory Jogger II

Bay of Pigs Declassified: The Secret CIA Report

Author: Peter Kornbluh

Including the complete report and a wealth of supplementary materials, this volume provides a fascinating picture of the operation and of the secret world of the espionage establishment, with elements of plots, counterplots, and intra-agency power struggles worthy of a Le Carre novel.

Library Journal

If the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was the most dire event of the Cold War, then the Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 was the most absurd. Kornbluh (director, Cuban Documentation Ctr. Project of the National Security Archive; Politics of Illusion: The Bay of Pigs Invasion Reexamined, Lynne Rienner, 1997) includes the tedious but informative report of Inspector General Lyman Kirkpatrick, which largely blames the CIA for misleading President Kennedy. Richard Bissell, the CIA's deputy director for plans, responds with a similarly oppressive rebuttal that attributes the failure to Kennedy's need to ensure plausible deniability--to hide America's obvious role by committing limited, insufficient air support and troops. Additional supporting documents and an interview with the invasion planners show the Bay of Pigs fiasco to be what historian Theodore Draper calls "a perfect failure." For a narrative overview, see Ale Fursenko's One Hell of a Gamble (LJ 3/15/97). Primarily for specialists in the era.--Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA

Evan Thomas

One of the most brutally frank, important - and unusual - government documents ever written, Bay of Pigs Declassified should be required reading for citizens, as well as for CIA officials as a 'how-to' guide on how not to conduct a covert operation.
-- Newsweek

Kirkus Reviews

A look at spooks in action that does not resemble a Tom Clancy novel.

A lingering question about the Bay of Pigs operation has always been how anyone could ever have thought it would work. Somehow presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, with the input of their military and intelligence advisers, approved an invasion plan that projected the victory of a 1,400-man exile force over the 25,000-man Cuban army. Moreover, they did so while implausibly insisting that the action must not be traced back to the US. Until recently, the cloak of secrecy has restricted efforts to explain this planning and decision-making process to idle speculation; with the publication of this volume, somewhat informed speculation is now possible. Through the Freedom of Information Act, the National Security Archive (a public-interest group), with which Kornbluh is affiliated, has obtained the CIA's internal and very critical report on the Bay of Pigs and a lengthy response from the CIA officer in charge of the operation.

Edited by Kornbluh (Nicarauga, 1987), the volume includes an analytical introduction, an interview with two CIA men involved in the planning of the operation and a detailed timeline of events. This mass of information provides insight into shifting objectives, ambiguity over responsibility and accountability, and the momentum that precluded halting or even seriously reconsidering the operation. Most striking, however, is the vigor with which those involved seek to hide behind presidential cancellation of an air strike in explaining the failure. The impulse to deflect blame clearly overrides any self-analysis that could lead to institutional learning from the experience despite the absurdity of claiming that one decision was the turning point in an operation riddled with problems. What remains unexplained is the failure of American political leadership, a puzzle that may be beyond the potential of historical documents to solve.

An eye-opening account, regardless of one's political convictions.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sister Revolutions or The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light

Author: Susan Dunn

In 1790, the American diplomat and politician Gouverneur Morris compared the French and American Revolutions, saying that the French "have taken Genius instead of Reason for their guide, adopted Experiment instead of Experience, and wander in the Dark because they prefer Lightning to Light." Although both revolutions professed similar Enlightenment ideals of freedom, equality, and justice, there were dramatic differences. The Americans were content to preserve many aspects of their English heritage; the French sought a complete break with a thousand years of history. The Americans accepted nonviolent political conflict; the French valued unity above all. The Americans emphasized individual rights, while the French stressed public order and cohesion. Why did the two revolutions follow such different trajectories? What influence have the two different visions of democracy had on modern history? And what lessons do they offer us about democracy today? In a lucid narrative style, with particular emphasis on lively portraits of the major actors, Susan Dunn traces the legacies of the two great revolutions through modern history and up to the revolutionary movements of our own time. Her combination of history and political analysis will appeal to all who take an interest in the way democratic nations are governed.

18 Black-and-White Photographs

Publishers Weekly

The American and French Revolutions claimed the same Enlightenment ideals: freedom, equality, justice. Still, the two events were profoundly different in method and result. The American Revolution led to a well-reasoned public dialogue on the nature of democracy and the role of the fledgling government. This dialogue culminated first in the Articles of Confederation and then the Constitution, on which the country has been anchored securely ever since. The French Revolution, on the other hand, led to the height of unreasonableness: a bloodbath of recrimination followed by a fragile republic destined to yield again and again to upheaval. Williams College professor Dunn (The Deaths of Louis XVI) explores the roots of these differences, finding that they spring from differences in the basic philosophy of citizenship espoused in each embryo state. While the Americans believed individual rights to be paramount, the French insisted on the appearance of public unity. Individual liberty was no more valued in the early French Republic than it had been under the Bourbons, she explains: "Armed with the `truth,' Jacobins could brand any individuals who dared to disagree with them traitors or fanatics," writes Dunn. "Any distinction between their own political adversaries and the people's `enemies' was obliterated." And as Dunn observes, tyranny does not good nation-building make. Dunn's comparative analysis is solid and well articulated--as far as it goes. A penultimate chapter, "Enlightenment Legacies," which treats the influence of the French and American experiences on subsequent revolutions from Russia to Africa, only begins to explore the legacies left by the sister revolutions. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.


In a narrative style, with particular emphasis on lively portraits of major actors, Dunn (French literature, history of ideas, Williams College) traces the legacies of the American and French revolutions through modern history and up to the revolutionary movements of our own time. She examines why the two revolutions followed such different trajectories, and asks what influence these two different visions of democracy had on modern history. Her combination of history and political analysis will appeal to all who take an interest in the way democratic nations are governed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Time Magazine

They were both rooted in the same Enlightenment ideals of universal human rights, and they both erupted during the waning decades of the 18th century. Why then did the American and the French revolutions profice such radically different result: a contentious but stable democravy on one side of the Atlantic, the Terror and the triumph of Napoleon on the other?

The question is old but still stimulating and provocative, as historian Susan Dunn demonstrates anew in Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light. In presenting her lively analysis, Dunn, a history professor at Williams College, relies heavily on the words, both public utterances and private correspondence, of the participants in the two revolutions.

Kirkus Reviews

Dunn (Williams Coll.; The Deaths of Louis XVI: Regicide and the French Political Imagination, not reviewed) compares the American and French revolutionary traditions and, not surprisingly in this presentist extended essay, finds the latter deficient. Comparisons of the intent, form, and style of these two great 18th-century revolutions are not new. And unfortunately, Dunn, relying heavily on previous scholarly work, adds few fresh perspectives to what has already been written. Nevertheless, her expressive and reflective work reminds us of the profound differences between these roughly contemporaneous revolutions and of their "invaluable lessons" for our own democracies. If its tone is excessively triumphalist, the book soundly insists that the American revolutionary tradition gave birth to a healthy emphasis upon the values of diversity and conflict, while the thrust of its Continental variant was more dangerously toward unity. The generation of the Framers sought to constitutionalize rights against their government, while the French revolutionaries sought to protect the rights of the community against individuals. One sought limited, the other embracing, government; one accepted the ambiguities of democracy, the other reached for clarity of principle. Dunn's freshest chapter, befitting a scholar of literature and ideas, compares the American and French styles of revolutionary expression and action and finds the former marked by courtesy and fairness, the latter all ardor and vigor. She is surely on strong, if well-trodden, ground in depicting a line running from revolutionary France into Bolshevism and the Viet Cong, but she strikes out on a new path in arguing for an Americanlineage to the recent peaceful revolution led by Nelson Mandela in South Africa. A thoughtful reconsideration of the never-ending, grave challenges of governance and power vouchsafed to the modern world by revolutions two centuries ago. (20 b&w illustrations, not seen.)

Table of Contents:
NOTES *217
INDEX *249

Book review: Standard and Poors Guide to Money and Investing or Freakonomics

The Tragedy of Great Power Politics

Author: John J Mearsheimer

A decade after the end of the Cold War, both policy makers and academics foresee a new era of peace and prosperity, an era when democracy, open trade, and mutual trust will join hands to banish war from the globe. With insight worthy of The Prince, John Mearsheimer exposes the truth behind this idyllic illusion: in a world where no international authority reigns above states, great powers invariably seek to gain power at each other's expense and to establish themselves as the dominant state.


This is the definitive work on offensive realism.

Barry R. Posen

A superb book....Mearsheimer has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the behavior of great powers.

Publishers Weekly

The central tenet of the political theory called "offensive realism" is that each state seeks to ensure its survival by maximizing its share of world power. Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, sets out to explain, defend and validate offensive realism as the only theory to account for how states actually behave. He proceeds by laying out the theory and its assumptions, then extensively tests the theory against the historical record since the Age of Napoleon. He finds plenty of evidence of what the theory predicts that states seek regional dominance through military strength. Further, whenever a condition of "unbalanced multipolarity" exists (i.e., when three or more states compete in a region, and one of them has the potential to dominate the others), the likelihood of war rises dramatically. If history validates offensive realism, then the theory should yield predictions about the future of world politics and the chances of renewed global conflict. Here Mearsheimer ventures into controversial terrain. Far from seeing the end of the Cold War as ushering in an age of peace and cooperation, the author believes the next 20 years have a high potential for war. China emerges as the most destabilizing force, and the author urges the U.S. to do all it can to retard China's economic growth. Since offensive realism is an academic movement, readers will expect some jargon ("buckpassing," "hegemon"), but the terms are defined and the language is accessible. This book will appeal to all devotees of political science, and especially to partisans of the "tough-minded" (in William James's sense) approach to history. Maps. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners BusinessInformation.

Library Journal

Mearsheimer (political science, Univ. of Chicago), an articulate spokesman for the realist school of international politics, here serves up a theory dubbed "offensive realism." Because of the anarchic structure of the international system, he contends, the great powers compete perpetually to become the "hegemon," or dominant state in the world and thus to obtain that elusive quantity called security. Theories of the "democratic peace" have no place in this gloomy world, and the internal makeup of a state has little bearing on its international behavior. Readers of an idealist bent will be distressed to discover that America's grand endeavors of the 20th century the world wars and the Cold War sprang not from altruism but from amoral calculations of power. And the future will be no different: China and the United States are fated to become adversaries as Chinese power waxes, regardless of whether the Asian behemoth evolves in an authoritarian or a more benign direction. One of the finest works of the realist school, this belongs in all academic collections. James R. Holmes, Ph.D. candidate, Fletcher Sch. of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

Freelance journalist Mearsheimer (Political Science/Univ. of Chicago) argues that powerful states obey rules centuries old, rules that he believes should prescribe as well as predict a state's behavior. Mearsheimer calls his theory "offensive realism." Since there is no pervasive and powerful global government (the UN is a pale, frail imitation of one), states have obeyed-and should obey-a simple imperative: survival. In this deeply conservative, Darwinian view of the world, the states most likely to survive are those that can both achieve regional hegemony (as the US has done) and prevent other states from doing so anywhere else. (Mearsheimer argues that there has never been, and likely never will be, a global hegemon.) He asserts that there are two kinds of power: latent (population, wealth) and military. And the best kind of military force is a huge, well-equipped, well-trained army. Naval and air forces are at best supplementary and cannot on their own win a war (Nelson's massive victory at Trafalgar, for example, antedated Waterloo by ten years). Mearsheimer points out repeatedly what he calls "the stopping power of water"-the notion that the US and the UK, for example, are relatively safe because they are protected by sizable bodies of water. And because he believes China is now the principal threat to the US, he declares we should attempt to slow the Chinese economy (and thus retard its military capability) rather than invite it into the family of nations. To validate his theses, he examines every major-power conflict since the Napoleonic era-slighting only the effect of prominent individuals (Napoleon, Hitler-were France and Germany just waiting for them?). Mearsheimer has donean astonishing amount of research for this provocative, important study (there are 130 pages of endnotes) and tosses into the trash-bin of history any effete Enlightenment notions about the potential perfectibility of our species. Our nations, he concludes, are like ourselves: territorial, feral, canine, vulpine. A seminal book: controversial, scholarly, compelling-and ultimately frightening. (9 maps, 24 tables)

Monday, November 30, 2009

They Took My Father or Safe for Democracy

They Took My Father: Finnish Americans in Stalin's Russia

Author: Mayme Sevander

"Mayme Sevander and Laurie Hertzel tell a poignant tale of a hidden corner of U.S. and Soviet history. Tracing the hopes and hardships of one family over two continents, They Took My Father explores the boundaries of loyalty, identity, and ideals." -Amy Goldstein, Washington Post"What makes Mayme's story so uniquely-almost unbelievably-tragic is that her family chose to move from the United States to the Soviet Union in 1934, thinking they were going to help build a 'worker's paradise.' They found, instead, a deadly nightmare." -St. Paul Pioneer Press "This gripping and timely book traces the beginnings of communism not as dry history but as a fascinating personal drama that spreads across Russia, Finland, and the mining towns of Upper Michigan and the Iron Range of Minnesota. . . . An important and largely ignored part of history comes alive in one woman's story of her tragic family, caught up in the all-consuming struggle of the twentieth century." -Frank Lynn, political reporter, New York Times Mayme Sevander (1924-2003) was born in Brule, Wisconsin, and emigrated with her family to the Soviet Union in 1934. Laurie Hertzel is a journalist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Book about: Hot Cuisine or Incredibly Easy Italian

Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA

Author: John Prados

Safe for Democracy for the first time places the story of the CIA's covert operations squarely in the context of America's global quest for democratic values and institutions. National security historian John Prados offers a comprehensive history of the CIA's secret wars that is as close to a definitive account as is possible today. He draws on three decades of research to illuminate the men and women of the intelligence establishment, their resources and techniques, their triumphs and failures. In a dramatic and revealing narrative, Safe for Democracy not only relates the inside stories of covert operations but examines in meticulous detail the efforts of presidents and Congress to control the CIA and the specific choices made in the agency's secret wars. Safe for Democracy is the most authoritative and complete book on the CIA's secret wars ever published.


This is the most detailed single volume on the modern history of US covert operations.

Midwest Book Review

If you're studying the CIA's operations and routines you can't be without Safe for Democracy.


Prados has performed a valuable service....A comprehensive and superbly researched effort that is both engrossing and disturbing..

Foreign Affairs

Prados is an extraordinarily tenacious researcher who has madea career of exploring the activities of the intelligence community, particularly covert operations. He builds his case using whatever evidence he can find. There may be arguments about points of detail and some inferences, but this account of the "secret wars" undertaken by the Central Intelligence Agency since its founding in 1947 is an impressive achievement. Many of the stories are familiar -- the coups in Iran and Guatemala, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the embrace of dubious rightists in Central America -- but what is striking is the range of countries in which the CIA has meddled and how counterproductive that meddling has so often been, even when the short-term goals were achieved. The anger generated (the 1953 overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddeq still factors into Iranian attitudes toward the United States), the poor choice of political friends, and the ease with which the CIA fits into conspiracy theories have ended up undermining U.S. interests in the long run. This book does not suggest that the CIA is a rogue arm of the government; the problem is that a covert capability proves too tempting to presidents seeking quick fixes to otherwise intractable problems.