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Bibliographical guides

The American City in the Twentieth Century: a Selective Guide to Materials at the British Library
Jean Petrovic

In the last fifty years ever-increasing academic interest in – and teaching about – American urban development has transformed a once peripheral subject into a staple of mainstream U.S. history. However, as Peter McCaffery points out, ‘the subject's growth and maturation as a historical sub-discipline was a particularly difficult one…and indeed today the field is still characterized by an absence of concensus on the terms “urban” and “city”, and consequently on what the subject of “urban history” is, or should be, about – a divergence of view which is reflected in the eclecticism which marks the range of works published under the subject's banner.'

This guide focuses on American urban development in the twentieth century and is intended as a bibliographical tool for those interested in the myriad aspects of this subject. Due to the large number of periodical articles that appear each year the guide only includes monographs and, in general, these have been published in the last twenty years – although there are several notable exceptions. Readers wishing to consult periodical literature are advised to consult sources such as Social Sciences Index, Public Affairs Information Service or America: History and Life.

The guide is divided into three sections. The first section covers a wide variety of topics including city government, crime and urban unrest, education, housing and African Americans. (Please note that readers interested in the urban experience of other ethnic groups should consult two earlier guides published by the Eccles Centre: United States Immigration: 1840-1940 and United States Immigration: 1940-2001.) The second section includes works on particular geographical regions, while the third covers a selection of the largest and most important American cities. Several works appear under more than one heading.

All works are followed by their British Library shelf-mark. The majority of works are held at the British Library at St Pancras, London. A shelf-mark prefaced by ‘DSC' indicates that the work is held at the British Library in Boston Spa, Yorkshire, but may be ordered for reading in London.

Peter McCaffery, ‘Urban History: General' in Peter J. Parish, ed. Reader's Guide to American History. London : Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997, p.711.

The American City in the Twentieth Century (PDF format), 249KB

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