History

Jane Jacobs' First Book

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janejacobs

I'm reading Wrestling with Moses, Anthony Flint's account of Jane Jacobs' battles with the powerful city planner Robert Moses. One fun fact I've learned from it: Though Jacobs' landmark critique of urban planning, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, is almost always described as her first book, it actually was her second. Twenty years earlier, in 1941, the woman then known as Jane Butzner published an historical study called Constitutional Chaff. It's an annotated collection of ideas that had been proposed but rejected during the Constitutional Convention. She never listed it in her later bibliographies.

The book appears to be online. I haven't read it yet, so I don't know whether it's a text I'd recommend on its own merits or if it's just an interesting curio. It certainly sounds like a promising idea for a book, though. And I know I'm not the only Jacobs fan in the Reason universe. So I'm passing the link along.