Inequality and One City: Bill de Blasio and the New York Experiment, Year One

The Nation Co. LP
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Bill de Blasio’s election as mayor of New York captured the attention of a typically restless city. But it also made progressives across the country—and, indeed, around the world—sit up and take notice. With unprecedented popular support, de Blasio took office pledging to “put an end to economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love.” Based on interviews with dozens of key figures in New York politics, including the mayor himself, Eric Alterman’s new e-book is a rigorous, fascinating and indispensable account of what happened next.

It is, as he writes in the preface, “an attempt to move beyond the day-to-day headlines that dominate our political debate. By placing Bill de Blasio’s words, and the actions of his administration, into a political, cultural, social, and intellectual context, we can see just how daunting the task he has set for himself really is: to use the power of the city government to make New York a fairer and more equal place for all its inhabitants, and to do so while executing the fundamental tasks of governance judiciously and efficiently.”

If you want to understand what really went down during the first year of “the de Blasio experiment”—the face-off with Governor Cuomo over pre-K, the charter school battle, the epic clash with the NYPD—Eric Alterman has the story.


“Eric Alterman’s “Equality and One City: Bill de Blasio and the New York Experiment, Year One” (ebookNation) is a de Blasio booster’s handbook to how much the mayor has already accomplished and a sober reminder — no matter how many poor people vote for empathetic local candidates — of just how much Albany and Washington can scuttle his agenda.”

—Sam Roberts, the New York Times


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About the author

Eric Alterman is distinguished professor of English and journalism at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and professor of journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the “Liberal Media" columnist for The Nation, a fellow of the Nation Institute, and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, and the World Policy Institute in New York, as well as former columnist for the Daily Beast, The Forward, Moment, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones and the Sunday Express (London). He is the author of ten books, including the national bestseller What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News.  His first book, Sound & Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy (1992), won the George Orwell Award, and his It Ain’t No Sin to Be Glad You’re Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen (1999) won the Jack London Literary Prize. Alterman has been called “the most honest and incisive media critic writing today” in the National Catholic Reporter and the author of “the smartest and funniest political journal out there,” in the San Francisco Chronicle.  A winner of the Mirror Award for media criticism, he has previously taught at Columbia and NYU and has been a Hoover Institution Media Fellow at Stanford University.  Alterman received his PhD in American history from Stanford, his M.A. in international relations at Yale and his B.A. from Cornell. He lives with his family in Manhattan. More information is available at ericalterman.com

Research and writing for Inequality and One City: Bill de Blasio and the New York Experiment, Year One was funded by the Center for American Progress.

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Additional Information

Publisher
The Nation Co. LP
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Published on
Feb 13, 2015
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Pages
300
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ISBN
9781940489186
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / Charter Schools
Political Science / American Government / Local
Political Science / General
Political Science / Public Affairs & Administration
Political Science / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
Political Science / Public Policy / Cultural Policy
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
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This content is DRM protected.
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“I’ve never read a better explanation of why presidents lie.”—John W. Dean, former counsel to President Nixon, The Washington Monthly
 
By the end of the twentieth century, after decades of demoralizing revelations about the mendacity of their elected officials, most Americans had come to accept the fact that deception was not only an accepted practice in government but also pervasive. Whatever the reasons proposed to justify falsehoods—practicality, expediency, extraordinary conditions of wartime—the ability to lie convincingly had come to be regarded as almost being a qualification for holding public office. Although such behavior has come to be tolerated, little accounting has been taken of the effects of this institutionalized dishonesty in our political culture.

When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and Its Consequences addresses its subject not from a moral perspective, but from a pragmatic one, and discovers that in the end, honesty in government is, in fact, the best policy. Journalist and historian Eric Alterman’s meticulous research is drawn from primary-source materials, both government documents and the media reactions to the unfolding dramas, and demonstrates how these lies returned to haunt their tellers, or their successors, destroying the very policy the lie had been intended to support. Without exception, each of the presidents paid a high price for deception. So, too, did the nation.

This is history at its most compelling, a balanced, eloquent, and revelatory chronicle of presidential dishonesty and its incalculable costs. In the fundamental questions it raises about leadership, accountability, and democracy, it is required reading for anyone who is concerned about America’s past—or her future.
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When Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, New Jersey, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie were beside him, vowing to help make Newark “a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” But their plans soon ran into the city’s seasoned education players, fierce protectors of their billion-dollar-a-year system. It’s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s children. 

Dale Russakoff delivers a riveting drama of our times, encompassing the rise of celebrity politics, big philanthropy, extreme economic inequality, the charter school movement, and the struggles and triumphs of schools in one of the nation’s poorest cities. As Cory Booker navigates between his status as “rock star mayor” on Oprah’s stage and object of considerable distrust at home, the tumultuous changes planned by reformers and their highly paid consultants spark a fiery grass-roots opposition stoked by local politicians and union leaders.  The growth of charters forces the hand of Newark’s school superintendent Cami Anderson, who closes, consolidates, or redesigns more than a third of the city’s schools—a scenario on the horizon for many urban districts across America. 
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The Prize is an absorbing portrait of a titanic struggle, indispensable for anyone who cares about the future of public education and the nation’s children.

 
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