The postindustrial transformation of North America’s historically industrial cities and regions is one of the most important and challenging subjects for modern urban and economic historians; how, within a few short decades, did the industrial framework that had sustained large parts of North America (and Europe) give way to a radically different postindustrial economy, driving in its path equally profound social changes. While the broad outlines of the story may be well known, the details are not. Comparing Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Hamilton, Ontario, Neumann’s book illuminates some of those details, including the actions, decisions, and rhetoric that accompanied—and may have helped foster—that transformation.

Neumann has done a prodigious amount of research to trace the ins and outs of the process of change in these two cities, and yet in the end, the sheer number of trees tends to block any view...

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