What We’re Reading: The Fight to Save the Town

The Fight to Save the Town 2

The Fight to Save the Town: Reimagining Discarded America, Michelle Wilde Anderson

In The Fight to Save the Town: Reimagining Discarded America, Stanford Law professor Michelle Wilde Anderson examines four blue-collar communities where local leaders are making progress against some of the seemingly intractable problems of poverty: violence, a breakdown in public services, unlivable wages, and unaffordable housing. Each of the towns Anderson studied took a unique approach to a problem. For example, in Detroit, local leaders worked to fight displacement and restore Black home ownership.

As this recent Stanford Lawyer magazine profile notes, The Fight to Save the Town documents the problem of what Anderson calls “citywide poverty”—a condition in which weak, underfunded local governments are unable to find the money for public services, creating a community-wide “poverty trap” that contributes to rising inequality in this country.

And yet her book is about more than just stories of urban dysfunction, Anderson told Bloomberg News. “Cities are sick of being written about as if they were dying or desperate, with bullets flying and crooked leaders,” she said. “I wanted to write a narrative that took their hardships really seriously and allowed them to be places of resilience, mercy, and solidarity.”

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