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The Book Room, Issue 43

Spring reads: Taras Grescoe, Erín Moure, Tamara Faith Berger and more.

There’s a lot riding on the future of the world’s mass-transit systems, and Taras Grescoe knows it. For his latest book, Straphanger (HarperCollins), the writer crisscrossed the globe, compiling case studies in public transportation that, taken together, make a convincing case for replacing the divisive, dominating automobile with long-term, regionally administered transit. The book’s strength lies in Grescoe’s contextually rich histories of the places he visits—mini-profiles of powerful urban planners are featured alongside the day-to-day experiences of the people who interact with their designs. While his bias is clear, Grescoe remains equitable in his approach to myth-busting; he never passes up an opportunity to tear apart a flawed argument, whether it’s from a “sprawl apologist” or a New Urbanist. But it’s doubtful this book will appeal to the former, and that’s a shame. It’s the Rob Fords of the world who ...

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