Book cover of Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics by Kim Phillips-Fein
History

Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics

An epic, riveting history of New York City on the edge of disaster—and an anatomy of the austerity politics that continue to shape the world today

When the news broke in 1975 that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible. How could the country’s largest metropolis fail? How could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? Yet the city was indeed billions of dollars in the red, with no way to pay back its debts. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was unworkable. The city had to slash services, freeze wages, and fire thousands of workers, they insisted, or financial apocalypse would ensue. [ […Learn More]

History

Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America

Just as The Color of Law provided a vital understanding of redlining and racial segregation, Marcia Chatelain’s Franchise investigates the complex interrelationship between black communities and America’s largest, most popular fast food chain. Taking us from the first McDonald’s drive-in in San Bernardino to the franchise on Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, in the summer of 2014, Chatelain shows how fast food is a source of both power―economic and political―and despair for African Americans. As she contends, fast food is, more than ever before, a key battlefield in the fight for racial justice.  […Learn More]

Americas

Coffeeland: One Man’s Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug

Coffee is an indispensable part of daily life for billions of people around the world–one of the most valuable commodities in the history of global capitalism, the leading source of the world’s most popular drug, and perhaps the most widespread word on the planet. Augustine Sedgewick’s Coffeeland tells the hidden and surprising story of how this came to be, tracing coffee’s five-hundred-year transformation from a mysterious Muslim ritual into an everyday necessity. […Learn More]