R.O. Self: American Babylon – Part I #acwrimo #nablopomo

Earlier this year, Grad School Ninja posted an instruction sheet called How to Raid an Academic Book in 4 Hours. I vaguely recall squealing with joy. (Also this is probably the fourth time I’ve screwed up your analytics by leaving the tab open for some ridiculous amount of time. I’m sorry Prof. Nance.) Grandiose plans ensued. Plans…

Yeah… well, now I have to read a book a week for the next 5 weeks, so here’s my chance to get familiar. I’m admittedly nervous because a) the level of ease with which I can be distracted far exceeds all sensibility b) I tried the Lit Review HQ’s technique for raiding an academic article in 5 minutes. It takes me 30. Mind you, I’m highly pleased, given that it would usually take me 4-5 hours to get through one article! As such, do not take my experience to be any sort of negative reflection on Ben’s technique. I’m just concerned about how I will do with several hundred pages. Confession: I did try to read a book using Prof Nance’s technique over the summer. But any reading I managed to do took place on the train and well, with it being summer, people being people, and those pesky buildings flying by…

R.O. Self - American Babylon

This week’s book

So anyhoo, I did start the technique last night with step one. I knew I wasn’t going to get very far as I spent a numbe rof hours in delirium caused by the previous night’s all-nighter and the ensuing 8-hour day of clases. I did manage to make it through all the reviews and came up with my two-sentence summary. I haven’t done any reading today, though, ‘cuz I’m trying to figure out who to vote for tomorrow. That’s a whole ‘nother blog post that I probably won’t be writing.

Anyhoo, enjoy my brief summary. I’ll post another each day that I read. My goal is to be done with the whole shebang by Tuesday evening.  That’s reasonable, yes?

Self’s history of Oakland’s decline tells an all too familiar narrative of suburbanization, matched with urban renewal that brought about the decline of the many cities across the nation. Through this history, Self details the political strategies and struggles, including the rise & fall of the Black Panthers, and how that has ultimately left Oakland in its current state.


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