My copy of Caste, Isabel Wilkerson’s new non-fiction tome on how racial discrimination and segregation shaped America, is due to be delivered tomorrow. I haven’t been this excited to read a book in a very long time.
Well, excited might not be the right word. Her last book, The Warmth of Other Suns—which tells the story of the mid-20th Century migration of over 6 million Black Americans from the South to other parts of the U.S. now referred to as the Great Migration—was beautifully written, extraordinarily well researched, and of course absolutely soul-wrenching.
The Warmth of Other Suns is a must read for any lover of dense non-fiction, as well as anyone interested in the intersection of urban planning and racial justice. I imagine the continuation of the story in Caste will compliment it well.
Related: Dwight Garner’s review in the New York Times this morning, which calls Caste “certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far”, and “one of the most powerful nonfiction books I’d ever encountered”. (via Kottke)
Republicans have long had it out for the United States Postal Service, given their propensity to privatize vital public services, but now they have a new reason to double-down in the midst of a pandemic: impeding our ability to safely vote by mail.
Postal workers interviewed by Vice believe current Postmaster General (and, surprise surprise, major Tr*mp donor) Louis DeJoy is trying to intentionally disrupt USPS services “in order to sabotage the mail-in ballot system ahead of the November elections” and that he is “hellbent on privatizing the USPS”. Fantastic.
Related: many of the the iconic Grumman LLV mail trucks are in use well beyond their lifespan, and are now in such a state of disrepair that they’re beginning to catch on fire. Plans to upgrade and replace the fleet have been in the works since 2011, but a replacement vehicle has yet to be chosen.
If you’re a journalist or political commentator, it’s really very important that everyone know you’ve read The Power Broker. There’s even a Twitter account dedicated to spotting Robert Caro books in the background of video call interviews.
A map of cycling infrastructure in western Europe reveals just how far ahead the Netherlands is from the rest of the world.
A design contest to reimagine the Brooklyn Bridge has published their finalists, many of which share a vision of phasing out car lanes, prioritizing public transit, and restoring the original pedestrian promenades.
The contest is no guarantee any of these projects will actually be built, but with New York finally making real progress to open up streets to more than just private vehicles, maybe the idea of turning the Brooklyn Bridge into a second High Line might not actually be such a wild idea.