New Yorker writer William Finnegan spent time with families in four communities across America and became an intimate observer of the lives he reveals in these beautifully rendered portraits: a fifteen-year-old drug dealer in blighted New Haven, Connecticut; a sleepy Texas town transformed by crack; Mexican American teenagers in Washington State, unable to relate to their immigrant parents and trying to find an identity in gangs; jobless young white supremacists in a downwardly mobile L.A. suburb. Important, powerful, and compassionate, Cold New World gives us an unforgettable look into a present that presages our future.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction of 1998 selection
One of the Voice Literary Supplement's Twenty-five Favorite Books of 1998
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Cold New World|
|Release Date: 09-29-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Cold New World
Beulah Morgan had lived in Newhallville, a working-class neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, since 1953. She moved there with her parents from Ansonia, a mill town a few miles west, because, she said, "black people couldn't buy a house in a good neighborhood in Ansonia." By Beulah's parents' lights, Newhallville was a very good neighborhood. Its leafy streets and well-built three-family houses had been home to a stable population of factory workers and their families for more than a century. The neighborhood got its name from George T. Newhall, whose Carriage Emporium was, in 1855, the largest manufacturer of carriages in the world. After the Civil War put Newhall, whose main trade was in the South, out of business, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company became New Haven's--and Newhallville's--largest employer. After the Winchester plant was sold to Olin Industries, a Midwestern ammunition and brass company, in 1931, Olin became the neighborhood's mainstay. Newhall Street, where Beulah's parents bought their house, dead-ended at the Olin plant. In 1953, there was every reason to believe that Beulah's family's social mobility would be, in the American way, upward.
New Haven has had an African American community since the seventeenth century, but until the Second World War, its members usually found themselves blocked from the better industrial jobs--compelled to accept instead lower-wage employment as, typically, waiters or porters at Yale University. For many years, they were also blocked from living outside a ghetto, near Yale, known as Dixwell. Factory work, like housing in Newhallville, went first to Irish immigrants, late...