High-Risers by Ben Austen


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 ...

Details High-Risers

Release DateFeb 13th, 2018
GenreNonfiction, History, Cultural, African American, Social Movements, Social Justice, Geography, Cities, Sociology

Reviews High-Risers

  • Cindy Burnett
    Every American should read High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing. Ben Austen has crafted a highly readable, fascinating and often depressing tale that spans the almost seven decades in which the Cabrini-Green housing project existed in Chicago. While certain issues contributing to the failure of large urban housing projects are specific to Cabrini-Green and to Chicago itself, many of the events that led to the failure...
  • Emily
    I've once again committed the error of waiting a few weeks to write up a book, which always seems to result in a less immediate and hence less satisfying review. Sorry, because this book was worthwhile if you're interested in the topic. The author tells the story of the notorious public-housing project Cabrini Green through the experiences of various individuals who lived there. We start with a mother who moved from a noxious slum into what was t...
  • Adam Ross
    Just a flat-out important book by a writer with complete authority over his subject matter. It charts the life and death of great American city (the Cabrini-Green housing projects) within a great American city (Chicago) and let's the reader bear witness to how and why it all comes tumbling down and what the costs are to the people who inhabit it. Read it to get educated. Read it to understand the American experiment. Or should we call it the proj...
  • Naberius
    The Cabrini-Green public housing was one of the more famous public housing in the United States. While not the only public housing in Chicago, Cabrini-Green had the most notorious reputation. Built in the 1940s in an area that had previously been a deteriorating slum, Cabrini-Green grew to 23 towers and a population of 20,000 (although that number could be debated) that was packed onto 70 blocks. Typical of Chicago, this area was just blocks from...
  • Connie Kuntz
    Most of the time I am able to form opinions and express them all by myself, but when it comes to the issue of public housing, there is a part of me that would appreciate it if someone (not a racist) would just tell me what to think. Since that person does not readily exist, I have had to take to books (in a way, every book is about public housing), podcasts (Making Obama), museums (Hull House, Chicago History Museum, National Public Housing Museu...
  • Zach
    add this to your reading list. If you're sad about Trump, sure. But also if you don't get why Rahm is still mayor. If you had your mind blown by Coates writing about redlining, yes. But also if you grew up in the 90s and think of Cabrini as an adjective that describes the violence of the "projects." read it for Girl X and Dantrell Davis and the good police and the bad and for the people who built barricades to keep the poor away and then took the...
  • Michael Webb
    Good overview of the history of Cabrini-Green with enough broader details to give context to the study. Though this is micro-history, it is engaging and is likely to be the standard monograph on the CHA and the Chicago projects in the immediate future. The book does focus in on a few particular residents to lend some personal interest, but also keeps the lens out far enough to keep the broader context clear.
  • Dkolacinski
    It is a special book that makes inert history of a tract of land a living narration of lives, loves, hates, corruption, stereotypes, heartlessness & soul. This is one such work. I too had many misconceptions of what it was like to live in the Cabrini-Green projects, at least until I hired someone who grew up there. This fills in what it was like by many of those who were involved with it. Highly recommended.
  • Rob
    An engrossing look at a slow motion tragedy that's much too complicated to summarize in a puny review like mine. Suffice it to say that if you're a Chicagoan, you won't know the full story behind Cabrini-Green until you read this book.
  • B. Cheng
    Not the academic details of William Julius Wilson or the tug at your heart strings of Alex Kotlowitz, but if you've read those and are looking to learn even more about stories from Cabrini Green, this is a great supplemental book.
  • Betty
    Review coming soon.
  • Rj
    Phenomenal overview of public housing in Chicago.
  • Robin Case
    Boring. Not very well told stories. So dull, so much padding. Good grief.