A People's History of the New Boston
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
288 Pages, 6.13 x 9.25 x 1.00 in, 16 b&w illus.
- Published: June 2014
"Jim Vrabel has written a great book, one that needed to be written and explains clearly and compellingly how the residents of Boston's neighborhoods worked together to build a better city, resisting the 'experts' to make the New Boston their own."—Robert Allison, author of The American Revolution: A Concise History "Vrabel has resurrected the voices of so many everyday (and yet extraordinarily fierce!) neighborhood folks who have stood up to the powers that be and grabbed the reins of leadership on all issues that directly impacted their lives. In this book, history is not only prelude to present, it is inspiration to all of us that we can indeed change our future."—Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls: A Family Story from Southie "This is a fascinating study of grassroots social movements in Boston neighborhoods during the 1960s and 70s. The book will appeal to both a popular audience for Boston history as well as being a valuable resource for students and scholars of late twentieth century urban history."—Marilynn Johnson, author of Street Justice: A History of Police Violence in New York "A People's History of the New Boston is granular in the research and grandly revealing in the telling of a recent time past in Boston's history reminiscent of the revolutionary 1770s and the abolitionist 1850s, when the people insisted they had something important to say about how life should be lived in their city and in their nation."—Dorchester Reporter "This book is not intended to be a definitive study of any particular group, cause or effect but rather to give an introduction and an overview of what happened in Boston in a specific time when ordinary citizens chose to be heard. And not only to be heard but to participate in decisions that were being made that would affect their lives and communities. Their actions in combination have had perhaps the most significant effect in how Boston has come to be the city that it is today. As such the book serves as an opening door inviting a more in depth study of community dynamics and should be of particular interest to community planners, sociologists and historians."—Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene "Vrabel's book poignantly and thoroughly recount[s] those times [of forced busing]."—Boston Globe "Jim Vrabel has done an honorable thing in writing A People's History of the New Boston. He has given us a 'worm's eye' view of Boston's post-WW2 evolution, countering the usual 'great man' telling of history, and starring the unsung heroes to whom we owe much more than most people know. . . . Thought-provoking."—Yankee Radical "This well-researched and well-written book is not another history of Boston; it is a study of community politics and community activism and belongs in all academic libraries. Highly recommended."—Choice "Vrabel drills deep into the processes of change that help explain how Boston became the city it is today. He does so by drawing on more than a decade of person interviews with some 100 past and current community activists to paint a portrait of the transition from the Old Boston to the New Boston. A People's History of the New Boston is a must-read for a new generation of community activists, politicians, government officials, students of cities and the media."—Commonwealth Magazine "Vrabel is the Howard Zinn of Boston. After hundreds of interviews and prodigious archival research, he's written the best book about that city's history, from the perspective of the activists who battled the powers-that-be to reshape Boston into a more livable city. Vrabel chronicles the great struggles of the post-war era, including urban renewal, welfare, poverty, tenants rights, highways, gentrification, school integration, Vietnam, community development, and jobs. He gives credit to some members of Boston's business and political elite who recognized the need for change, but the book primarily gives voice to the outsiders and activists who challenged the status quo with cunning and courage."—Peter Dreier, Huffington Post