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Fear City by Kim Phillips-Fein
Fear City by KIM PHILLIPS-FEIN

On Sale April 18, 2017

Fear City

An epic and riveting history of New York City on the edge of disaster—and an anatomy of the politics of austerity that continues 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 capital of the financial world go bankrupt? And yet the city was billions of dollars in the red. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that New York’s famous social liberalism was doomed to failure--and promised apocalyptic scenarios if the city didn't fire thousands of workers, freeze wages, and slash social services.

In this vivid, gripping account, historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the remarkable story of the crisis that engulfed the city, transforming the largest metropolis in the United States and reshaping ideas about government throughout the country. In doing so, she brings to life a radically different New York, the legendarily decrepit city of the 1970s. Drawing on never-before-used archival sources as well as interviews with key players in the crisis, Phillips-Fein guides us through the hairpin turns and sudden reversals that brought New York City to the edge of bankruptcy--and kept it from going over.

At once a sweeping history of some of the most tumultuous times in the city's past, a colorful portrait of the unwieldy mechanics of municipal government, and an origin story of the politics of austerity, Fear City is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the resurgent fiscal conservatism of today.

ADVANCE PRAISE

"This is the story of how the gears were shifted and the age of liberalism put into reverse, told with all the engrossing details, all the forgotten characters, and a memorable style.”

—Tom Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas? and Listen, Liberal

2017-02-01T02:35:24+00:00

—Tom Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas? and Listen, Liberal

"This is the story of how the gears were shifted and the age of liberalism put into reverse, told with all the engrossing details, all the forgotten characters, and a memorable style.”
“New Yorkers pride themselves on being cosmopolitan, on welcoming immigrants, on being willing to spend money on education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Kim Philips-Fein convincingly explains why that caused problems for the city in the past and why now we need New York values more than ever.”

—Joseph E. Stiglitz, author of Globalization and Its Discontents and The Price of Inequality

2017-02-23T21:40:01+00:00

—Joseph E. Stiglitz, author of Globalization and Its Discontents and The Price of Inequality

“New Yorkers pride themselves on being cosmopolitan, on welcoming immigrants, on being willing to spend money on education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Kim Philips-Fein convincingly explains why that caused problems for the city in the past and why now we need New York values more than ever.”
"This is a history with huge implications for the remaking of American politics and economics in our time."

—Thomas J. Sugrue, author of Origins of the Urban Crisis

2017-02-01T00:33:02+00:00

—Thomas J. Sugrue, author of Origins of the Urban Crisis

"This is a history with huge implications for the remaking of American politics and economics in our time."
“Fair, thorough, incisive, and stylish, this is the best book to read not just on New York’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s, but about how bankers became our unacknowledged legislators ever since.”

—Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge

2017-02-01T00:33:45+00:00

—Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge

“Fair, thorough, incisive, and stylish, this is the best book to read not just on New York’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s, but about how bankers became our unacknowledged legislators ever since.”
“A tour de force...Fear City is essential reading to understand how finance capital, real estate speculation, austerity budgeting, and punitive policing first came together to create the toxic politics of today.”

—Greg Grandin, author of Fordlandia and Kissinger’s Shadow

2017-02-01T02:31:05+00:00

—Greg Grandin, author of Fordlandia and Kissinger’s Shadow

“A tour de force...Fear City is essential reading to understand how finance capital, real estate speculation, austerity budgeting, and punitive policing first came together to create the toxic politics of today.”