Review of Our Towns

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Our Towns book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans

Rating

9 Overall

8 Importance

9 Innovation

9 Style


Review

Journalist James Fallows and linguistics expert Deborah Fallows tell a patchwork story of place. They flew 100,000 miles in the course of four years, crisscrossing the United States to visit 31 cities several times each. Instead of flying over, they flew in to report in compelling detail on those cities’ economic and civic health and their future prospects. After much research, they report that news of middle America’s demise is greatly exaggerated. The two Fallows, husband and wife, find that cities that differ in history, geography and opportunity are akin in aspirations and in many economic development strategies. Like the best travelogues, this work makes you want to visit places you never dreamed of exploring.

 

About the Authors

A reporter for The Atlantic for more than 35 years, James Fallows has written 11 books. Deborah Fallows, a linguistics expert, has written two books.

 

Good Bones

James and Deborah Fallows report that across the United States, successful cities are using their existing resources to spur economic growth. Eastport, Maine, for example, has the deepest harbor on the Eastern seaboard. Melting arctic ice means it may one day offer the quickest sea route to China, Japan and Korea. The tidal currents in the Bay of Fundy made Eastport an ideal location for the Ocean Renewable Power Company to test its generation of hydrokinetic electricity, which supplies Maine’s power grid.  

The Fallows provide historical context by drawing a line from the public investments of a previous age to today’s new opportunities and progress. Citibank found the World War II-era military infrastructure of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, attractive in the 1990s. Sioux Falls offers lower operating costs than other, more dense areas. Residents love its “big small town” feel. 


More on this topic

By the same authors

China’s Great Leap Backward
China’s Great Leap Backward
8
China Airborne
China Airborne
8

Customers who read this also read

Work Imitates Life
Work Imitates Life
8
The Smartest Places on Earth
The Smartest Places on Earth
8
Airbnb and the Unintended Consequences of 'Disruption'
Airbnb and the Unintended Consequences of 'Disruption'
8
Peak Millennial?
Peak Millennial?
8
We Do Things Differently
We Do Things Differently
9
Cars and Second Order Consequences
Cars and Second Order Consequences
8

Related Channels

Comment on this recommendation