MixedThe Wall Street JournalMr. Rein treats Whyte as a hero, for good reasons. He was an independent thinker, an astute observer, and an admirable champion of bottom-up creativity and urban dynamism. He was wise about how cities work. But he had his own prejudices, notably against cars and the \'sprawl\' they enabled. Mr. Rein does not question the shortcomings of an urbanism that condemns such engines of economic and cultural creativity as Los Angeles, Atlanta and Silicon Valley. Why do these places work, if crowded sidewalks and obvious city centers are essential to urban vitality? And then there are the Nimbys, whom Whyte’s work empowered ... Whyte didn’t intend to choke off new housing in the nation’s most productive regions or to paralyze the general ability to build. But those conditions are as much his legacy as the resurgence of old downtowns or the plentiful seating in Bryant Park—at least until someone new comes along and \'blows the lid off everything.\'
MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewAlthough Dreilinger voices discomfort with home economists who preached middle-class norms to the poor, her history demonstrates that the field has always been about the good life as defined by educated middle-class women ... A diligent reporter, not an intellectual historian, Dreilinger scants the broader context of the discipline’s evolution, viewing it instead through a contemporary progressive lens. She finds it paradoxical that people who supported women’s rights and food regulation looked favorably on eugenics and segregation. Few early-20th-century progressives saw a contradiction. These positions all fit into prevailing ideas of efficiency and scientific order. The women who replaced \'domestic science\' with \'home economics,\' tying their field to the ascendant social sciences, would be baffled by her bafflement ... the book doesn’t frankly confront the big question: As an academic discipline, does home economics still make sense? Women no longer need a ghetto to pursue careers in science or business. The problem of household drudgery has largely been solved. Maybe the field should go the way of natural history — scaffolding that served a vital purpose and then disappeared.