Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs
The first major biography of the irrepressible woman who changed the way we view and live in cities, and whose influence can still be felt in any discussion of urban planning to this day. "Eyes on the Street" is a revelation of the phenomenal woman who raised three children, wrote seven groundbreaking books, saved neighborhoods, stopped expressways, was arrested twice, and engaged at home and on the streets in thousands of debates--all of which she won. Here is the child who challenged her third-grade teacher; the high school poet; the journalist who honed her writing skills at "Iron Age," "Architectural Forum," "Fortune," and other outlets, while amassing the knowledge she would draw upon to write her most famous book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities." Here, too, is the activist who helped lead an ultimately successful protest against Robert Moses's proposed expressway through her beloved Greenwich Village; and who, in order to keep her sons out of the Vietnam War, moved to Canada, where she became as well known and admired as she was in the United States.
"The author of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," which turned the world of city planning upside down, has become a cultural icon. Robert Kanigel s compelling biography fleshes out a complicated and at the same time straightforward person: 'She worked hard; she finished what she started.'" Witold Rybczynski "Jane Jacob s life was chock-full of insights, merriment, amazing stories, aphorisms, mischief, astonishing antics, principled actions, and of course writing. Kanigel has captured it all in this compulsively readable life of Jane." John Sewell, former mayor of Toronto. "Perceptive, informative, and a useful companionfor readers ofJane Jacobs s classic "Death and Life of Great American Cities." It is also an inspirational story of a restless small town girl who heads to the big city with only her shorthand skills, but quickly transforms herself from secretary to journalist, to well-known architectural critic and then an internationally famous author." Herbert Gans, author of "The Levittowners "and "Imagining America in 2033" "Kanigel brings Jane Jacobs the woman to life. Jane writer, activist, daughter, wife, mother is beautifully profiled to give us deeper understanding of what it took to make a revolution in urban thinking and looking." Lizabeth Cohen, author of "A" "Consumers Republic: The Politics of MassConsumption in Postwar America" "Kanigel delivers the most complete biography of Jane Jacobs to date, reveling in her distinctive genius even as he shies from the usual deification. He shows Jacobs to be a fierce personality, a devoted writer, and above all human." Timothy Mennel, co-editor, "Reconsidering Jane Jacobs" "Meticulously researched . . . very readable . . . A sympathetic overview of Jacobs s career, political activism, and travels." "Library Journal" "An outstanding chronicle of a provocative, influential, iconoclastic theorist of the American cityscape. . . . A well-rounded, illuminating narrative . . . a vast wealth of entertaining anecdotes highlighting Jacobs at her best (and worst) . . . A significant, comprehensive biography of an irrepressible urbanist, author, and pioneering community activist." "Kirkus Reviews" (starred) "Luminous . . . Jane Jacobs helped me see my city. Now Robert Kanigel helps me see Jane Jacobs. I m grateful to both of them." Barbara Garson, author of "MacBird" and "Down the Up Escalator: How the 99 PercentLive" Kanigel turns Jacobs s life into a fascinating narrative with an endearing, obstinate, brilliant protagonist. Readers familiar with Jacobs s work will enjoy reading the behind-the-scenes anecdotes from her career . . . and those who are learning about her for the first time will want to immediately pick up one (or all seven) of the books she wrote. "Publishers Weekly "(starred review)"
ROBERT KANIGEL is the author of seven previous books. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim fellowship and the Grady-Stack Award for science writing. His book "The Man Who Knew Infinity" was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. For twelve years he was a professor of science writing at M.I.T. He and his wife now live in Baltimore, Maryland, and he writes full time.