Building The Dream

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, May 9, 2012 - Social Science - 352 pages
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For Gwendolyn Wright, the houses of America are the diaries of the American people. They create a fascinating chronicle of the way we have lived, and a reflection of every political, economic, or social issue we have been concerned with. Why did plantation owners build uniform cabins for their slaves? Why were all the walls in nineteenth-century tenements painted white? Why did the parlor suddenly disappear from middle-class houses at the turn of the century? How did the federal highway system change the way millions of Americans raised their families?

Building the Dream introduces the parade of people, policies, and ideologies that have shaped the course of our daily lives by shaping the rooms we have grown up in.  In the row houses of colonial Philadelphia, the luxury apartments of New York City, the prefab houses of Levittown, and the public-housing towers of Chicago, Wright discovers revealing clues to our past and a new way of looking at such contemporary issues as integration, sustainable energy, the needs of the elderly, and how we define "family."
 

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Contents

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION
PART ONEFOUNDATIONS FOR SOCIAL ORDER
CHAPTER ONETHE PURITAN WAY OF LIFE
STRUCTURES OF AMERICAN NATIONALISM
CHAPTER TWOROW UPON ROW IN THE COMMERCIAL CITY
CHAPTER THREETHE BIG HOUSE AND THE SLAVE QUARTERS
CHAPTER EIGHTTHE ADVANTAGES OF APARTMENT LIFE
DOMESTICATION OF MODERN LIVING
CHAPTER NINETHE PROGRESSIVE HOUSEWIFE AND THE BUNGALOW
CHAPTER TENWELFARE CAPITALISM AND THE COMPANY TOWN
CHAPTER ELEVENPLANNED RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITIES
PART FIVEGOVERNMENT STANDARDS FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES
CHAPTER TWELVEPUBLIC HOUSING FOR THE WORTHY POOR
CHAPTER THIRTEENTHE NEW SUBURBAN EXPANSION AND THE AMERICAN DREAM

CHAPTER FOURHOUSING FACTORY WORKERS
CHAPTER FIVEINDEPENDENCE AND THE RURAL COTTAGE
PART THREEACCOMMODATIONS FOR AN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY
CHAPTER SIXVICTORIAN SUBURBS AND THE CULT OF DOMESTICITY
CHAPTER SEVENAMERICANIZATION AND ETHNICITY IN URBAN TENEMENTS
CHAPTER FOURTEENRESERVING HOMES AND PROMOTING CHANGE
NOTES
FURTHER READING
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

GWENDOLYN WRIGHT was born in Chicago in 1946. She received a Master of Architecture degree and a Ph.D. in architectural history from the University of California at Berkeley, where she has since taught architectural design and history. Her first book, Moralism and the Model Home, was published in 1980.

Gwendolyn Wright and her husband, Paul Rabinow, an anthropologist, are currently living in France under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study the emergence of modern urbanism.

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