Keeping Tabs on Pittsburgh's History

If you're looking for a holiday gift that says "Pittsburgh," you can't do better than Frank Toker's new book: Pittsburgh: A New Portrait, recently published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. (Pop City ran a profile of the author, who teaches at Pitt, last week.) Weeks ago, one of my "Pittsburgh Renaissance" posts briefly noted that the apparent thesis of the book - that the city's neighborhoods have kept it going over the decades - isn't credible. But that argument isn't the strength of the book (thus the phrase "apparent thesis"); the book includes virtually no evidence to support the claim. But that debate is irrelevant to the real merits of the work. Frank Toker has produced a brilliant and meticulous cataloging of the city's 20th century architectural and planning history. No matter how long you have lived in the region, this book will teach you a lot about its past. The future, of course, is another story.

Meanwhile, if you are a Pittsburgh history junkie, then don't stop with Frank Toker. The Pitt Press has just published a neat book by another Pitt faculty author, my law school colleague Jim Flannery. Titled "The Glass House Boys of Pittsburgh Law, Technology, and Child Labor," the book details the history of child labor in Pittsburgh's glass bottle factories. Jim reminds a region obsessed with its glorious history that not all of Pittsburgh's history is so glorious after all.

Put both books on your holiday list.


1 Response to "Keeping Tabs on Pittsburgh's History"

..WW.. said... 11/24/2009 8:35 AM

TWO THUMBS UP...from fairstreetnewport......ww

Search Pittsblog

About Pittsblog

Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

Comments are moderated.
Subscribe to Pittsblog comments


Blog Archive

Header Background

Header background images licensed from (left image) lemonad and (right image) plaskota under Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 2.0 Generic licenses.


Copyright 2003-2010 Michael J. Madison - WP Theme by Brian Gardner - Blogger Blog Templates,