In a powerful, revealing portrait of city life, Anderson explores the dilemma of both blacks and whites, the underclass and the middle class, caught up in the new struggle not only for common ground—prime real estate in a racially changing neighborhood—but for shared moral community. Blacks and whites from a variety of backgrounds speak candidly about their lives, their differences, and their battle for viable communities.
"The sharpness of his observations and the simple clarity of his prose recommend his book far beyond an academic audience. Vivid, unflinching, finely observed, Streetwise is a powerful and intensely frightening picture of the inner city."—Tamar Jacoby, New York Times Book Review
"The book is without peer in the urban sociology literature. . . . A first-rate piece of social science, and a very good read."—Glenn C. Loury, Washington Times
While this was conceived mainly as a book for train and trolley buffs, it does, by documenting the spread of mass transit through the LA basin, form a history of urban growth. The abundant photos are not entirely of rolling stock and track. A fascinating ethnographic study of a neighborhood where numerous races and types of people including the middle-class, young professionals, and the very poor, live in close proximity to each other. Anderson (sociology, U. Penn) works his analysis around interviews he collected from the neighborhood. He examines from these statements the tensions, stereotypes, and interactions of the residents of the community. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)