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  1. How the Other Half Lives (Studies Among the Tenements of New York)
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And Roosevelt was true to his word. Though not the only official to take up the cause that Jacob Riis had brought to light, Roosevelt was especially active in addressing the treatment of the poor. As a city official and later as state governor and vice president of the nation, Roosevelt had some of New York's worst tenements torn down and created a commission to ensure that ones that unlivable would not be built again. With this new government department in place as well as Jacob Riis and his band of citizen reformers pitching in, new construction went up, streets were cleaned, windows were carved into existing buildings, parks and playgrounds were created, substandard homeless shelters were shuttered, and on and on and on.

While New York's tenement problem certainly didn't end there and while we can't attribute all of the reforms above to Jacob Riis and How the Other Half Lives , few works of photography have had such a clear-cut impact on the world. It's little surprise that Roosevelt once said that he was tempted to call Riis "the best American I ever knew.

Then, see what life was like inside the slums inhabited by New York's immigrants around the turn of the 20th century.

HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES: STUDIES AMONG THE TENEMENTS OF NEW YORK by Jacob A. Riis FULL AUDIOBOOK

By John Kuroski. Like this gallery? Share it: Share Tweet Email. A young girl, holding a baby, sits in a doorway next to a garbage can. Circa An Italian immigrant man smokes a pipe in his makeshift home under the Rivington Street Dump. Men stand in an alley known as "Bandit's Roost. Street children sleep near a grate for warmth on Mulberry Street. A boy and several men pause from their work inside a sweatshop. Members of the infamous "Short Tail" gang sit under the pier at Jackson Street. Two poor child laborers sleep inside the building belonging to the Sun newspaper, for which they worked as newsboys.


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A squatter in the basement on Ludlow Street where he reportedly stayed for four years. Inside an English family's home on West 28th Street.


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Lodgers rest in a crowded Bayard Street tenement that rents rooms for five cents a night and holds 12 people in a room just 13 feet long. Guns, knives, clubs, brass knuckles, and other weapons, that had been confiscated from residents in a city lodging house. An Italian rag picker sits inside her home on Jersey Street. Children attend class at the Essex Market school. A man sorts through trash in a makeshift home under the 47th Street dump. Members of the Growler Gang demonstrate how they steal. Children stand in Mullen's Alley.

Workers toil in a sweatshop inside a Ludlow Street tenement. The pictures resulted in an avalanche of legislation and laws that would prevent the immigrant poor from living in such deplorable conditions. In the years following the pictorial re-issue, laws were passed dictating air circulation, windows, hygiene, and disease prevention in the tenement housing. New York became the epicenter for social change concerning living conditions and assistance for the poor. For the average reader, some of the statistics can slow down the text.

However, other readers will be amazed by how far we have come and that Americans ever allowed our fellow citizens to live in such conditions. It also helped kick off the Progressive Era, which helped close the gap between the very rich and the very poor that had widened during the Gilded Age. The effects of Riis' book have always fascinated me as an American Studies student, and it is a must read for any student studying sociology, American Studies, American history, or urban studies. Aug 13, Tara Lynn rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Everyone.

Shelves: classics-necessary-for-any-library , booklist-for This is probably one of the most remarkable books I've ever read. Having re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to the point where I can now recite whole passages from memory, Riis' photographs and first person insight into the derelict city tenement dwellings of the early part of the 20th century are a welcome visual to Smith's text.

How the Other Half Lives (Studies Among the Tenements of New York)

Although descired by many as a novice photographer at best, the pictures that DID develop well show Riis' ability to capture the essence of raw humanity in the struggle This is probably one of the most remarkable books I've ever read. Although descired by many as a novice photographer at best, the pictures that DID develop well show Riis' ability to capture the essence of raw humanity in the struggle for survival. I would have to say though, although I appreciated much of the text, as well as the fantastic photographs, the author's lack of recognition or tolerance for cultures other than his own make the material an uncomfortable read.

It's all very well for a man who's made his way from squalor to have his own opinions, but there is no call for many of his judgements. People of the time had as many limitations coming here as generations before them, and it was not culture of race that kept people from succeeding; rather, the proletariat class that ignored the plight of the people under their heels in their own quests to prove themselves worthy of the European aristocracy. Feb 09, Marks54 rated it really liked it. This book is a classic and an early example of the involved and probing journalism that came to be known as muckraking.

Riis provides a series of studies of the various aspects of tenement life in New Yorkk City in the late s. Over a million people lived indire poverty in these slums and Riis proviides horrifying examples of how the "other half" lived in these conditions - often invisible to the rest of society.

Riis talks about life in the buildings, the various ethnic groups among the poor This book is a classic and an early example of the involved and probing journalism that came to be known as muckraking. Riis talks about life in the buildings, the various ethnic groups among the poor, sanitation and health problems. Thw writing is superb and moving.

How the Other Half Lives

This book no doubt had a huge influence on subsequent reformers from Teddy Roosevelt to Jane Jacobs. Riis is not without his own dated perspectives on these problems and might seem a bit un-PC today. The value and heart of this book is obvious, however, and it is well worth the investment of time. View 1 comment. Jan 13, Jocelyn rated it liked it Shelves: race.

I do generally love a good muckraking - The Jungle is an old favorite of mine - and New York is another favorite subject. On the topic of New York, Riis' book, unfortunately, compares rather poorly with the dishy and entertaining Lights and Shadows of New York Life , which covers much of the same territory and which I read a few months ago. HtOHL comes to feel repetitive, is excessively moralistic in tone, too reliant on the police for information which seems not terribly credible, and is surpris I do generally love a good muckraking - The Jungle is an old favorite of mine - and New York is another favorite subject.

HtOHL comes to feel repetitive, is excessively moralistic in tone, too reliant on the police for information which seems not terribly credible, and is surprisingly racist in places. The part of the book I learned the most from, sadly, was the picture of Riis' attitudes toward people of other races and extractions as an illumination of the racism of the era, rather than from feeling I'd been enlightented on the book's subject much more than what Lights and Shadows had accomplished in a chapter or two.

I struggled with the sentence structure quite a bit throughout - too many dependent clauses strung in webs as dense, dark, and maze-like as the tenements themselves - but that is probably the fault of the cognitive problems caused by my illness rather than the text being especially hard to decipher. View all 3 comments.

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Aug 07, Bob Schnell rated it liked it Shelves: true-crime , read-in , history. Jacob Riis is a bit of a hero to my family simply by default of his Danish ancestry. This book is his observational review of conditions in New York City's tenements at the height of their infamy. What could have been a great sociological study turns into a breakdown of the inhabitants by race and nationality. The writing often comes across as bigoted and racist, even though he was considered a great progressive and social reformer.

As a time capsule, it is fascinating. However, since Riis' grea Jacob Riis is a bit of a hero to my family simply by default of his Danish ancestry. However, since Riis' greatest claim to fame is his photography, it is a bit disappointing that there aren't more photos included with the text. Sep 13, Jeanne McDonald rated it really liked it. While revolutionary for its day, I was enamored by the stories and history presented in this novel. However, what struck me most is how one-sided it all felt. It was obvious that Riis wasn't in this for the love of his work.

He found a novel idea that would make him money and solidify a name for himself and he took it. Do I think this is a bad thing? Absolutely not! It's an author's dream to find that one story that places them in the spotlight, but I do feel that it would've been nice that sinc While revolutionary for its day, I was enamored by the stories and history presented in this novel. It's an author's dream to find that one story that places them in the spotlight, but I do feel that it would've been nice that since we were looking at how the other lived, we got an account from them as well.

How the Other Half Lives

Sep 18, Elizabeth rated it it was amazing. Read for my writing class. Jan 12, Irene rated it it was ok Shelves: librivox. Exactly what I thought it would be. Rough NYC slums.


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  6. Next book will be light-hearted and funny. Well, if you ever wanted statistics on how the poor people of New York lived in with a generous side helping of racist stereotypes, this is the book for you. This book isn't necessarily a bad book, it's just not the type of book I really enjoy reading. I don't mind non-fiction, but the writing in Riis's book is a fact-stating essay that makes for a long read. There are definitely some good points and good moments throughout, and Riis's accompanying photos drive his point home all the better. Riis's message of overlooking poverty is still relevant today, but for me personally, his wordiness hasn't aged well and it made for a very tough read.

    Aug 11, Russell Bittner rated it it was amazing. The question — or so it seems to me at least — remains as legitimate today as it did when it first appeared in these pages in What do we think the harvest of that will eventually be? Only the dollar figures would have changed. A most interesting note occurs on p. They have scarcely been heard of since. Opponents of the small parks system as a means of relieving the congested population of tenement districts, please take note. Affordable housing for those who keep your service industry humming is a good thing; downtrodden and neglected buildings and neighborhoods are not.

    And what does Jacob Riis have to tell us about the plight of the fairer sex in this most heartless of cities? As a class she is brave, virtuous, and true. If it rise once more, no human power may avail to check it. The gap between the classes in which it surges, unseen, unsuspected by the thoughtless, is widening day by day…. Against all other dangers our system of government may offer defence sic! If any or all of this sounds bitingly familiar to you now, in the year , you have only to remember that How the Other Half Lives was published in to be able to appreciate this evidentiary piece of prescience, not to say prophecy.

    Jul 25, Marti rated it really liked it Shelves: crime , history-politics-business-economics. There is no doubt this book brought about huge changes in New York City policies toward the poor and indigent in when it was published. I just finished "Five Points" which motivated me to finally read this volume even though I was already familiar with many of the photographs found herein, like the iconic "Bandits Roost" which was bulldozed shortly after publication to make way for the park that still stands today.

    Therefore, the most surprising thing for me is how "politically incorrect" There is no doubt this book brought about huge changes in New York City policies toward the poor and indigent in when it was published. Therefore, the most surprising thing for me is how "politically incorrect" the writing seems in this day and age. I was expecting someone a little more empathetic to other cultures, but it more closely resembles the sensationalist moralizing of Victorian-era Protestants.

    The saloon, the gambling den and other "heathenish" practices are cited as reasons why conditions are so horrible. Nowhere is this more evident than in the chapters on Chinatown and "Jewtown," although the Italians, Irish and Bohemians aka the Czechs do not come off much better. However, to be fair, he cites many examples of model tenements whose more spacious and open design improved the character of the occupants almost overnight.

    As harsh as the author's judgmental tone may sound today, the reader should overlook the lack of political-correctness, because it is a fascinating tour of New York street life the large tenements, the flop houses, the stale beer dives, the sweat shops, the youth gangs. Looking back, it is surprising how much survived into the s and even s. For instance there is a chapter cataloging the "famous" professional beggars who were staples of the tenement neighborhoods. One in particular posed as a blind veteran of the Franco Prussian War and made so much money, he used his earnings to open a museum in Connecticut.

    In contrast, the ubiquitous "blind man selling pencils" which, until fairly recently, was still a feature of street life in and around Times Square was generally legitimate. It's not all one relentless downer though. There are quite a few laugh out loud moments. Highly recommended especially for people who are intimately familiar with the streets of New York. Shelves: unfinished , school , nonfiction. I read the 75 pages or so and then skimmed through the remainder of the book to finish the essay I was required to write on it. Since I didn't truly read it, all I can say is that I hated what parts I did read.

    I understand that this was written during a different time period, meaning that racist stereotypes would have been accepted at that time, but I just didn't find anything I could use from it. The photos and drawings did little for me as well. Overall, just depressing and worthless. Riis's I read the 75 pages or so and then skimmed through the remainder of the book to finish the essay I was required to write on it.

    Riis's prose did little for me. I wanted to rip my hair out after a few sentences into each chapter. I think I would have enjoyed a more sympathetic author on this period of history. Or one who wasn't so melodramatic. Plus, his whole theory of assimilation being the only way to make American society successful irked me.

    Seriously, I could rant on everything that annoyed me for hours, so I'm going to stop here. Oct 10, Leymy rated it liked it Shelves: loved , school. I was expecting to fall asleep while reading this book but I was wrong. Riis really pulled me in and showed me through writing and pictures just how these people were living AND how, sadly, not much has changed.

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    People are still living in horrible conditions and paying so much for such a small space while not earning nearly enough. Although, I do have to say that the government is much more involved now and the people are not as "fucked" as they were back then. I honestly recommend everyone to I was expecting to fall asleep while reading this book but I was wrong.

    I honestly recommend everyone to read this book at least once in their lifetime. It will really open your eyes and you will see why everyone said "History repeats itself". Feb 02, Nick rated it really liked it Shelves: history. Read this in college for a history project and it always stuck with me. Few books in American history have had the social impact that Jacob A. He hoped, through the evolving technological advances of photography and his published, emotional plea, to rouse the well-to-do citizens of New York into helping the millions of poor and impoverished, native and immigrant Few books in American history have had the social impact that Jacob A.

    In order for them to have had the chance of becoming productive American citizens, they must first have been given the opportunity at a fair start, which the abject state of the tenement buildings was unable to provide. The first problem was the tenement itself. Usually a building, four to six stories high, intended for the occupancy of just a few families, soon had over a hundred people packed into every nook that could fill a human body.

    Most interior rooms never saw the light of day. Fresh air was a rare commodity, leaving most residents to breathe the same stale air day and night. Overall, the filth of the structures proved most offensive to the senses. Rear tenements, built in empty courts behind the street buildings, were usually worse, little more than dilapidated hovels cut off from light by the surrounding structures.

    Despite this vision of abject poverty, and indeed starvation was prevalent, many in the tenements were not what would have been considered poor. Some, in fact, earned a decently living for the era. The real question to be asked is, to where would they move? Tenement houses were the norm in New York, each as good or lousy as the next. Predictably, these conditions bred all types of criminal activity. Faced with constant hunger and only the streets to call home, many resorted to gang violence or controlled substance dependency.

    Children, who sometimes never saw beyond their squalid block, with a family that could not provide for their basic needs, soon created gangs of their own, making their way as they could. Other children toiled with their families in the sweatshops, for which the tenements were the main housing. However, all hope was not lost to Riis. Rear tenements, too, were quickly disappearing. He felt that by writing How the Other Half Lives, the wealthy and influential of the city would come to the aid Riis In this respect he was correct, when through his book he found an ally in Theodore Roosevelt, who began implementing many of the suggestions that Riis proposed.

    He urged people to look beyond the building facades which were admittedly nice on some buildings to the teeming filth that they masked Riis Likewise, tenants should have received the quality accommodations their high rents were entitling them to. Riis endorsed the park system City-Beautiful influence? The other contribution for which Riis has been immortalized, and no doubt thanked repeatedly by modern historians, is the treasure trove of photos he took while on his outings, one hundred of which are found in the Dover edition.

    His original publication did not include the photos for technological reasons. The impact of the strikingly bleak images caught on film far outweighs any of the emotional condemnations he wrote. The street dwellers and criminals, even those presumably embarrassed by their situations, seem willing to have their pictures taken. Perhaps it is the only such opportunity many had. The modern reader cannot help but be struck by the prejudices running through his commentary. The groups that receive the most of the brunt are the Italians and Polish Jews.

    At least he commends them for being clean. Surprisingly, however, he looks fondly on African-Americans along with Bohemians , who he treats with sympathetic respect. When he wished, it seems, Riis was quite able to see beyond differences. Riis, through How the Other Half Lives , awakened a society that had once turned a blind eye to the hardships prevalent in the tenements.

    He showed them effectively that the struggle was not theirs alone, but that its reach was felt for many miles in ways not readily apparent. May 18, Carol Bakker rated it liked it Shelves: city , grim , architecture , culture , , new-york. One half of the world does not know how the other half lives. How the Other Half Lives is one of those unusual books that changed history in a material way, directly affecting the lives of millions of people.

    Jacob Riis wrote it for no other purpose than to call attention to the horrendous living conditions of the poor in New York City, and to insist on reform. I came to Jacob Riis through Theodore Roosevelt, his friend, admirer, and co-belligerent. His book seemed a natural follow-up to read afte One half of the world does not know how the other half lives.

    His book seemed a natural follow-up to read after The Bully Pulpit. I don't regret trudging through it, but the subject of New York City's gim-crack tenements was grim. Move over, Charles Dickens. The problem began with architecture. It's appalling and life-sucking: dark, unventilated rooms and an open sewer.

    Summer, it turns out, was the season of death. Water was scarce; buildings became ovens; fire escapes became bedrooms. Flash photography was invented in ; Riis used the flash in dark buildings, creating powerful images. You can view them on the internet. He's a forerunner to Dorothea Lange. The key problem, Riis writes, is the ignorance of the immigrants.

    They must be taught the language of the country they have chosen as their home, as the first and most necessary step. Whatever may follow, that is essential, absolutely vita. Interesting, coming from Danish native who emigrated in Fascinating, too, the work of the Children's Aid Society, who provided rooms for homeless boys. Self-help is its very key-note, and it strikes a response in the boy's sturdiest trait that raises him at once to a level with the effort made in his behalf. Teacher: What must I do to be healthy? Students: I must keep my skin clean, wear clean clothes, breathe pure air, and live in the sunlight.

    Needless to say, my needs were more than met. They're still hard to look at years later. I would have preferred ones that covered areas Riis didn't discuss ex: prostitution--Riis was so damn close to talking about it, especially in his section on how women were criminally underpaid, but nope. The standout additional piece is Diner's introduction, which does a great job at setting up the context for the reader.

    The biographical articles were also helpful in shedding light on Riis's worldview. Readers also enjoyed. New York. About Jacob A. Jacob A. Jacob August Riis was a American journalist.

    koyremerabta.tk This Christian helped the impoverished in New York City; those needy were the focus of much of his writing. In his youth in Denmark he read Dickens and J. Cooper; his works exhibit the story-telling skills acquired under the tutelage of many English-speaking writers. Books by Jacob A. Trivia About How the Other Hal No trivia or quizzes yet.

    Quotes from How the Other Hal That bread should be so dear, And flesh and blood so cheap!