The Boston Globe discusses “A People’s Guide to Greater Boston”

NEW ENGLAND LITERARY NEWS

A radical roadmap, new medical memoir, and grants and fellowships awarded

By Nina MacLaughlin Globe Correspondent,Updated July 3, 2020, 12:41 p.m.

A new people's guide to greater Boston shows children on Neptune Road with Logan Airport at the end of the street; many of their parents were involved in efforts to halt airport expansion.
A new people’s guide to greater Boston shows children on Neptune Road with Logan Airport at the end of the street; many of their parents were involved in efforts to halt airport expansion.Michael Philip Manheim. Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives

Radical roadmap

A People’s Guide to Greater Boston” (University of California) is not a glossy pit of tired tourist pap. It’s a history lesson with a point of view, shining light on the city’s radical past, highlighting protests and movements and the power people of Boston have had in shaping the place they live. Authors Joseph Nevins, who grew up in Dorchester; Suren Moodilar, an activist and editor who lives in Chelsea; and Cambridge native and Harvard grad Eleni Macrakis write of sites like Grove Hall in Dorchester, where in June 1967, 50 protestors locked themselves in to demand welfare reform and were pulled out violently by police, leading to three days of rioting. Or of the Middle East Nightclub in Cambridge, which used to be home to “Old Mole,” an underground newspaper that called itself “a radical biweekly.” The book is a comprehensive exploration of Boston, its neighborhoods, and its nearby towns—Waltham, Lynn, Concord, the North and South Shores. The book pulls the curtain back on the city’s history of furthering the inequality of a capitalist world economy and perpetrating violence against natural resources. “A people’s perspective privileges the desires, hopes, and struggles of those on the receiving end of unjust forms of power and those who work to challenge such inequalities” aiming for a place “that is radically inclusive and democratic and that centers on social and environmental justice.” It’s a timely, intelligent, and necessary guide, one that deepens our understanding of where we live now and reminds us of the power that regular citizens have to work against powers and systems that are, now as then, in urgent need of change.

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