Download High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing Audiobook

High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing Audiobook, by Ben Austen Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Ben Austen Narrator: Ron Butler Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2018 ISBN: 9780062799180
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Joining the ranks of Evicted, The Warmth of Other Sons, and classic works of literary non-fiction by Alex Kotlowitz and J. Anthony Lukas, High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project.

Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of 20,000—all of it packed onto just seventy acres a few blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, it was also a much-needed resource—it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed, the island of black poverty engulfed by the white affluence around it, the families dispersed.

In this novelistic and eye-opening narrative, Ben Austen tells the story of America’s public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told movingly though the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the housing complex’s demise. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and full of moving portraits, High-Risersis a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor—and what we can learn from those mistakes.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Austen’s impressive study of Chicago’s twenty-three-tower Cabrini-Green public housing project, razed but looming still, was conducted during years of reporting and interviewing. Like Alex Kotlowitz’s seminal There Are No Children Here…Austen offers a local history of profound national relevance…As the buildings’ demolition, completed in 2011, has left former residents in worse and more precarious situations, Austen’s fascinating narrative demands much consideration.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A finely crafted biography of an urban community.”

    Library Journal

  • “An instructive guide, or, perhaps more importantly, a cautionary tale about a failed attempt to provide affordable housing for the poor.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Ben Austen’s High-Risers is not merely the definitive history of the life and death of America’s most iconic housing project, but a clear-eyed assessment of what happened to public housing as a national ideal and why it happened. We now live in a time when every meaningful attempt at a collective response to any societal need is near impossible. As a people, Americans are not good at sharing. And more specifically, given the national pathology of race, we are entirely unwilling to share with Them, the Other. Austen’s careful narrative of Cabrini-Green tells that tale.”

    David Simon, creator of The Wire

  • “A finely crafted biography of an urban community.”

    Library Journal

  • “As the buildings’ demolition, completed in 2011, has left former residents in worse and more precarious situations, Austen’s fascinating narrative demands much consideration.”

    Booklist

  • “Provides many powerful insights…A weighty and robust history of a people disappeared from their own community.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Ben Austen has written for many publications, including Harper’s Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, GQ, and New York magazine. He lives in Chicago.

About the Narrator

Ron Butler is a Los Angeles–based actor, Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator, and voice artist with over a hundred film and television credits. Most kids will recognize him from the three seasons he spent on Nickelodeon’s True Jackson, VP. He works regularly as a commercial and animation voice-over artist and has voiced a wide variety of audiobooks. He is a member of the Atlantic Theater Company and an Independent Filmmaker Project Award winner for his work in the HBO film Everyday People.