American Dreamscape by Tom Martinson
The Pursuit of Happiness in Postwar Suburbia

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Filmmakers, novelists, social critics, environmentalists - they all decry suburbia, and the myths of mindless conformity uncontrolled sprawl, decentralisation, and cultural blight continue to grow. But so do the suburbs. In a phenomenon unparalleled in the social history of modern, postwar America, more than 138,000,000 Americans-the majority of our national population-now live in suburbs; for the most part, happily. And Tom Martinson, a city planner whose fieldwork for this book has taken him to more than a hundred communities throughout the United States, has discovered why. Whereas recent titles have attracted media. attention for their indictments of suburbia as an American nightmare, this lucid, incisive volume displays conclusively that the suburbs, which are no less various than they are ubiquitous, defy the stereotypes of urbanist critics. Separating biases that characterise suburban communities as vacuous, wasteful, centreless places from their actuality, Martinson traces the evolution of suburbs over the past two centuries, examines the values that challenge and unsettle the urbanists, investigates charges that government unfairly favours suburbs over cities, and considers possibilities for the future development of suburbia. Martinson knows the issues, and asks some billion-dollar questions. He also has illuminating answers as well as copious elucidating photographs of suburbs across the country to support them, as with vision, wit, and historical perspective he surveys the wars on one of Americas premier cultural battleground.

About Tom Martinson

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Published October 28, 2000 by Carroll & Graf Publishers. 288 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Martinson sets out to defend the suburbia of both his youth and adulthood from the closed-mindedness of urban intellectual elites.

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In a spirited, often amusingly belligerent defense of the suburbs, Martinson vehemently rebuts what he sees as an overarching, mainstream cultural myth that U.S. suburbs are detrimental to the lives of their inhabitants and to society in general.

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