Show Me A Hero

Show Me A Hero

A Tale of Murder, Suicide, Race, and Redemption

Book - 2015
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Issues facing public housing in Yonkers and the people who live with the results.
Publisher: New York : Back Bay Books, [2015]
Edition: Back Bay paperback media tie-in edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780316391351
0316391352
Branch Call Number: 305.8009747277 BEL
Characteristics: xvii, 347 pages ; 21 cm

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PimaLib_NormS Jul 05, 2017

The title of Lisa Belkin’s book, “Show Me a Hero” comes from an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote, “Show me a hero, and I will write you a tragedy.” The quote is certainly appropriate for this story. In 1988, Yonkers, New York was under a court order to approve a plan for low income housing to be located in middle class neighborhoods. The people that were living in low income housing were predominately African-American and Hispanic, the people in the middle class neighborhoods of East Yonkers were white. There was definitely a racial component to this struggle, but interestingly, the people of color who were the potential residents of the new housing were mostly bystanders to what was happening. The actual struggle was among lawyers and judges, the Yonkers city council, and the comfortable, middle class residents of East Yonkers, all of whom were white. Lisa Belkin tells this story by focusing on a diverse group of people involved in this big, sprawling social experiment. One person highlighted in the book was the mayor of Yonkers at the time, Nick Wasicsko, who finally convinced his city council to approve the housing plans. Heroically, he did what was right, but unpopular, and then was voted out of office in the next election. Eventually, Yonkers was desegregated, at least in part, but some of the players in this real-life drama paid a heavy price. Belkin skillfully weaves a balanced story of race, class, politics, love, and tragedy, in a way that makes “Show Me a Hero” hard to put down.

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