The Sprawl
For decades the suburbs have been where art happens despite: despite the conformity, the emptiness, the sameness. Time and again, the story is one of gems formed under pressure and that resentment of the suburbs is the key ingredient for creative transcendence. But what if, contrary to that, the suburb has actually been an incubator for distinctly American art, as positively and as surely as in any other cultural hothouse? Mixing personal experience, cultural reportage, and history while rejecting clichés and pieties and these essays stretch across the country in an effort to show that this uniquely American milieu deserves another look.

The Sprawl Details

TitleThe Sprawl
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Sociology, Cities, Urban Planning, Writing, Essays, Urbanism, History

The Sprawl Review

  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    It's a pleasant read, and I liked the idea, but I think this book had too much breadth and not enough depth. It jumps around geographically and chronologically, and in trying to mix history, pop culture essay, and memoir it doesn't stay anchored in any one of those things long enough. I also felt sort of surprised that while it says at the beginning that it's going to uncover hidden things and challenge assumptions about the suburbs, the book winds up reifying a lot of stereotypes about suburbs It's a pleasant read, and I liked the idea, but I think this book had too much breadth and not enough depth. It jumps around geographically and chronologically, and in trying to mix history, pop culture essay, and memoir it doesn't stay anchored in any one of those things long enough. I also felt sort of surprised that while it says at the beginning that it's going to uncover hidden things and challenge assumptions about the suburbs, the book winds up reifying a lot of stereotypes about suburbs (that they're white, stultifying, and all the same). If it was going to be a history, it needed to be more specific and more deeply researched. If it was going to be a memoir, it needed to be more specific and personal. And if was going to be a cultural meditation, it needed more diverse examples and more effort made to talk to other people. There are a few moments in the book where the author goes to a current suburb and looks at people and considers asking them what they think but then doesn't. That decision means we're not getting much of a picture of what people living in suburbs right now think about them, or how suburbs vary from place to place, or how the reality and the image of suburbs has evolved from the postwar period to now.
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  • Jason Diamond
    January 1, 1970
    I like it. Not bad at all.
  • Christen
    January 1, 1970
    The Sprawl is more of a memoir/essayist format; this book is more about feeling and culture than actual history. I went in expecting history, but I enjoyed the author's background, and the impact of suburbia has on American culture. Diamond focused on murders, movies, music, and youth culture by capturing the feel of the suburbia and the social impact that it has on the American culture.I received an ARC and Coffee House Press in return for an honest review.
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  • Carly Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    Good essay collection about American suburbs. The author grew up in north Chicagoland and writes about his personal experiences which I found entertaining and informative. Diamond also covers the history of some of the early suburbs, suburb malaise, and music/literature created in the suburbs. Recommended.
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  • Ian
    January 1, 1970
    As coronavirus locked down cities across the country and work from home orders liberated office workers from daily commutes, many people suddenly found themselves returning, either temporarily or permanently, to the suburbs so many of them had fled. Jason Diamond’s new book, The Sprawl: Reconsidering the Weird American Suburbs, arrives just in time to contextualize these spaces. Diamond dives deep into a cultural analysis rich with literary, musical, and Hollywood references and examines the his As coronavirus locked down cities across the country and work from home orders liberated office workers from daily commutes, many people suddenly found themselves returning, either temporarily or permanently, to the suburbs so many of them had fled. Jason Diamond’s new book, The Sprawl: Reconsidering the Weird American Suburbs, arrives just in time to contextualize these spaces. Diamond dives deep into a cultural analysis rich with literary, musical, and Hollywood references and examines the historical, social context of suburban sprawl, from post-war Levittowns to the contemporary decline of shopping malls. The Sprawl offers an insightful examination of the type of places the majority of Americans call home. Read the full review at Chicago Review of Books:https://chireviewofbooks.com/2020/08/...
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  • Adam
    January 1, 1970
    Warm. Thoughtful. Honest. Hopeful. Caring. Truthful. Measured. Rejects bombast knee-jerk nostalgia for clear-eyed compassion.
  • Amelia
    January 1, 1970
    A lot of potential but ultimately a very superficial exploration of suburbia in America
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