Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. | The Dobkin Family Collection of Feminism gans down jacket

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Jacobs, Jane.

Economy of Cities, The.


Inscribed to Norman Mailer
Jacobs, Jane. The Economy of Cities. New York: Random House, (1969).
8vo.; green cloth; stamped in blue and gilt; cream dust-jacket; printed in black and red; upper panel offset; spine browned; edges chipped. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
First edition of Jacobs's second book; published simultaneously in Canada; with a ghost of Mailer's signature upside-down on the upper panel of the dust-jacket; and thirteen pages with penciled underlines and brackets (pp. 204, 207, 212-218, 224, 229-30 and 245). A presentation copy, effusively inscribed: To Norman Mailer, to whom I'm immensely indebted for many hours of (reading) enjoyment & exhilaration & much, much enlightenment. So - with great admiration -/Sincerely, Jane Jacobs/May, 1969. Mailer and Jacobs were acquainted through their activism in New York in the 60s; Mailer's Village Voice, for example, supported Jacobs on her crusade against the West Side Highway project.
In eight chapters, with a six-part Appendix; chapter titles include "How New Work Begins," "The Valuable Inefficiencies and Impracticalities of Cities," and "Some Patterns of Future Development." The Appendix includes diagrams of various economic situations.
Jacobs begins the book with an explanation: "This book is an outcome of my curiosity about why some cities grow and why others stagnate and decay.…One of many surprises I found in the course of this work was especially unsettling because it ran counter to so much I had taken for granted" (p. 3). The surprise was that rural economies and agricultural work are built upon city economies; this fact is counter-intuitive, and contradicts the long-held beliefs that the opposite is true. Jacobs sets out to find answers: "Like her previous book, Mrs. Jacobs' new work will upset most conventional opinion among professionals, but like The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it will also establish itself as a new point of departure for any future discussion of economic growth or stagnation, of how people make their livings, and of how cities rise and fall" (dust-jacket). It was predicted that "her book promises to be as revolutionary in its way as was Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations or the economic writings of Marx in theirs" (dust-jacket).
Herbert Gans, a critic for the National Review, wrote that in this book, Jacobs is not simply advocating a new theory of urban growth, she's actually calling for a new, small-scare urban economy. "What Mrs. Jacobs has done in [The Economy of Cities] is to begin to formulate a badly needed urban myth for our now almost entirely urbanized society. In the long run, this may well be her most important contribution"
(Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2007. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale. 2007.

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