The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit - Updated Edition

    Preface by
  • Thomas J. Sugrue

The reasons behind Detroit’s persistent racialized poverty after World War II


Apr 27, 2014
5.5 x 8.5 in.
29 halftones. 17 tables. 10 maps.
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Once America’s “arsenal of democracy,” Detroit is now the symbol of the American urban crisis. In this reappraisal of America’s racial and economic inequalities, Thomas Sugrue asks why Detroit and other industrial cities have become the sites of persistent racialized poverty. He challenges the conventional wisdom that urban decline is the product of the social programs and racial fissures of the 1960s. Weaving together the history of workplaces, unions, civil rights groups, political organizations, and real estate agencies, Sugrue finds the roots of today’s urban poverty in a hidden history of racial violence, discrimination, and deindustrialization that reshaped the American urban landscape after World War II.

This Princeton Classics edition includes a new preface by Sugrue, discussing the lasting impact of the postwar transformation on urban America and the chronic issues leading to Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the 1998 Bancroft Prize in American History
  • Winner of the 1997 Philip Taft Prize in Labor History
  • Winner of the 1996 President's Book Award, Social Science History Association
  • Winner of the 1997 Best Book in North American Urban History Award, Urban History Association
  • One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1997