Origin stories are revealing. This one makes clear that ghettos are physical places that are perpetuated by vicious cycles of inequality and are justified by ideologies of cultural or racial pathology...In Duneier’s impressive and comprehensive volume, readers will find a greater sense of the complexity of America’s problem of racial inequality, as well as the urgency — practical and moral — of solving it.
...[A] searing and searching examination of the political and cultural history at the root of this powerfully evocative and inflammatory term...Some readers may leave this volume with the weary conclusion that the American version of the ghetto is the sad reflection of the nation’s failures regarding race. In some of these pages, Duneier shares that view, which bends toward hopelessness. But in his conclusion, he offers a heroic bow to the residents of these places, a salute to their valiant efforts and to their values.
Mr. Duneier is pessimistic about the chances of any immediate political solution to the problem he calls the 'forgotten ghetto' in American cities. But his concerns are born from profound sociological and historical understanding. His book is an incisive, balanced yet commendably biting account of the unfinished history of the ghetto.