Monday, June 21, 2010

The new book on ACORN, AY gaps, and full disclosure in a review

I'll have a review shortly of John Atlas's new book, Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America's Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group, published by Vanderbilt University Press.

It's a serious book, though highly sympathetic and quite sloppy. And after reading it, I can say with confidence that the headline for Peter Dreier's TPMcafe review, ACORN's Kick-Ass Activism - New Book Reveals the Whole Story, is far from accurate when it comes to Atlantic Yards.

Eric McClure of NoLandGrab already suggested More like kiss-ass activism, which helps when it comes to needing a $1.5 million bailout.

Indeed, the bailout by Forest City Ratner is a glaring omission.

(Note the non-advertisement for NLG on the cover of the book.)

Really full disclosure

Here's the bio note regarding the book's reviewer:
Peter Dreier is professor of politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy program at Occidental College, where he teaches a course on community organizing. Full disclosure: John Atlas is his friend and occasional co-author.
While that sounds like a full disclosure, it actually sells Dreier's role short. In the Acknowledgments section of the book (p. 268), Atlas writes:
Through years of collaborative work writing articles and working at the National Housing Institute, I have learned immensely from my good friend Peter Dreier, who spent many hours nurturing the manuscript and made numerous useful suggestions. I could not have begun or finished the book without his ideas, inspiration, and support. He was a virtual co-author.
(Emphases added)

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