*Wrestling with Moses*

The subtitle is How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City and the author is Anthony Flint.  Here is an excerpt:

Through school, Jane's sharp mind and her penchant for challenging authority — her parents raised her to pay attention to ethics but never blindly conform — made her a bit of a loner and slightly quirky.  Like many adolescents, she made up imaginary friends to talk to.  But hers were Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin.  Franklin "was interested in lofty things, but also in nitty-gritty, down-to-earth details, such as why the alley we were walking through wasn't paved, and who would pave it if it were paved.  He was interested in everything, so he was a very satisfying companion."  She explained traffic lights to him, and women's clothes, and the city's system of trash bins and collection.  Another imaginary friend was a Saxon chieftain named Cerdic, plucked from the pages of an English historical novel.

The parts of this book about Jacobs are splendid.  The parts about Moses are good, though they were more familiar to me.  I believe there has otherwise never been much biographical material on Jacobs's life.  Here is an excerpt from the book.  Here is one review.  Did you know about her book A Schoolteacher in Old Alaska?


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