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The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal About Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power

de Deirdre Mask

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
6812934,062 (3.95)30
"An exuberant work of popular history: the story of how streets got their names and houses their numbers, and why something as seemingly mundane as an address can save lives or enforce power. When most people think about street addresses, if they think of them at all, it is in their capacity to ensure that the postman can deliver mail or a traveler won't get lost. But street addresses were not invented to help you find your way; they were created to find you. Addresses arose out of a grand Enlightenment project to name and number the streets, but they are also a way for people to be identified and tracked by those in power. As Deirdre Mask explains, the practice of numbering houses was popularized in eighteenth-century Vienna by Maria Theresa, leader of the Hapsburg Empire, to tax her subjects and draft them into her military. In many parts of the world, your address can reveal your race and class, causing them to be a shorthand for snobbery or discrimination. In this wide-ranging and remarkable book, Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany, and why numbered streets dominate in America but not in Europe. The flipside of having an address is not having one, and we see what that means for millions of people today, including those who live in the slums of Kolkata, on the streets of London, or in post-earthquake Haiti. Filled with fascinating people and histories, The Address Book illuminates the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name,to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn't-and why"--… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente portheveggies, Femilieu, Dotdala_Reads, ThiaCoan, WanderingOaken, calcurious, biblioteca privada, ozfiztheweird, JZP
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Much more interesting than you think a book about streets would be. ( )
  gonzocc | Mar 31, 2024 |
I originally heard about this book on a podcast and as a snail mailer, it piqued my interest. The book was so interesting and ranks right up there with my favourite narrative non-fiction - [b:The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World|30753994|The One-Cent Magenta Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World|James Barron|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1476031541l/30753994._SX50_.jpg|51302425]. There were chapters on people living without addresses, how the homeless are marginalised without addresses, the naming of streets, the clamour for 'privileged' street addresses, new apps and ideas to get those living in refugee camps, shanty towns and on the streets on the grid so they can improve their situations without judgement.
I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in history, sociology, social justice and development and more. It is a really well researched and interesting book.
I requested that my local library purchase this book and I borrowed it but this is a book I would really like to own. ( )
  secondhandrose | Oct 31, 2023 |
This is the book I never knew I wanted to read, but I'm so glad I did! It's a well-researched and fascinating exploration of the history and cultural significance of addresses. Mask expertly traces the development of addresses from ancient times to the present day and shows how they have been used to shape societies and individuals.

I was glued to the pages, deeply fascinated by the various discussions and personal anecdotes woven throughout. I appreciated learning about the way addresses were used to enforce racial segregation in the United States, for example.

The book also delves into the role of addresses in shaping modern cities, from the development of the grid system in Manhattan to the implementation of house numbering in London. Mask shows how these systems were initially met with resistance but ultimately led to increased efficiency and a more ordered society. She also discusses how addresses have been used to reflect and reinforce social hierarchies, such as through the use of elite postal codes and prestigious street names.

Throughout the book, Mask expertly weaves together historical research and personal anecdotes. These stories add a human element to the book and help to illustrate how addresses have impacted people's lives over time.

Overall, this is a thought-provoking and illuminating read that sheds light on an often-overlooked aspect of our daily lives. Mask's engaging writing style and careful research make this a must-read for anyone interested in the history of cities, urban planning, and societal issues. ( )
  Elizabeth_Cooper | Oct 27, 2023 |
Well. This book could be called "The Society Book," since it really is all about societies around the world, and how the presence or absence of an address affects people. Structurally, I felt the chapter titles were much more specific than the content tended to be. Which is not a bad thing -- the chapter about street names in Iran tracks the history of the Irish troubles and the impact revolutions in other parts of the world are felt, as much as discussing the complex issues of civil organization in Iran, and the history of numbered streets in Philadelphia is more about the history of William Penn and Quakerism than about how that city is organized. It all just speaks to how much we are defined by where and how we live. I never really thought before about how important it is to locate yourself in the world, not just the city you live in, but the precise part of that city, the name of your street, the conventions that identify not just where you live but who you are. Who knew that "vanity addresses" were a thing in cities like New York, where an address can affect everything from the value of your property to the kind of customers you might get and the way people view you (and how those addresses can misidentify your location to the point where emergency services might not find you...) And in the last few pages of this book, the author introduces "what3words," which is a tech startup that has divided the entire planet into a grid of 3-meter squares, and assigned a unique set of 3 words to each square (in more than 30 languages), so that if you have an address or a spot on a map, you can find the 3 words and use them to locate yourself. It is an interesting approach to a difficult problem. I found this book absolutely fascinating. While the thesis can sometimes be hidden within the wide-ranging contexts the author calls up, I found myself drawn into every chapter, which makes address and identity parts of issues that are so much bigger, and yet play such a crucial role. ( )
  karenchase | Jun 14, 2023 |
I never thought about addresses much before, but this book demonstrates just how powerful they can be. The German Nazis understood this power and used addresses as a form of propaganda. Some people perceive addresses to express class while others see the need for an address as a barrier to upward mobility or safety (how can an ambulance find you when you have no address to provide). Yes, there are tangents in every chapter, but I saw them as adding richness and depth to the overall discussion of addresses. ( )
  Kimberlyhi | Apr 15, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 28 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Structurally, narrative nonfiction tends to work either like a freight train (progressing in a straight line from Point A to Point B) or like a horseback rider (jumping fences to gallop across fields of unwieldy facts); count Mask among the horsy set. “The Address Book” is her first book, and she is already a master at shoehorning in fascinating yet barely germane detours just for kicks.... How can a book about class, poverty, disease, racism and the Holocaust be so encouraging? Mask populates her daunting inquiries with a cast of stirring meddlers whose curiosity, outrage and ambition inspire them to confront problems ignored by indifferent bureaucracies.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarNew York Times, Sarah Vowell (Web site pago) (Apr 14, 2020)
 
Journalist Mask’s entertaining and wide-ranging debut investigates the history of street addresses and their “power to decide who counts, who doesn’t, and why.” ... Mask’s fluid narration and impressive research uncover the importance of an aspect of daily life that most people take for granted, and she profiles a remarkable array of activists, historians, and artists whose work intersects with the evolution and meaning of street addresses. This evocative history casts its subject in a whole new light.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarPublisher's Weekly (Jan 15, 2020)
 
An impressive book-length answer to a question few of us consider: “Why do street addresses matter?” In her first book, Mask, a North Carolina–born, London-based lawyer–turned-writer who has taught at Harvard and the London School of Economics—combines deep research with skillfully written, memorable anecdotes to illuminate the vast influence of street addresses as well as the negative consequences of not having a fixed address.... A standout book of sociological history and current affairs.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarKirkus Reviews (Jan 13, 2020)
 
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"In Lübeck, on 20 March (1933), a large number of people were taken into so-called protective custody. Soon after began the renaming of the streets."

--Willy Brandt, Links und frei. Mein Weg 1930-1950
(Left and Free: My Path 1930-1950)
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In some years, more than 40 percent of all laws passed by the New York City Council have been street name changes. -Introduction
On a hot, fragrant February morning in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), I took a walk with Subhashis Nath, a social workers, to the Bank of Baroda in Kalighat, one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. -Chapter 1, How Can Street Addresses Transform the Slums?
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Addresses, the UPU argues, are one of the cheapest ways to lift people out of poverty, facilitating access to credit, voting rights, and worldwide markets. But this is not just a problem in the developing world. Soon, I learned that parts of the rural United States don’t have street addresses either.
The slums seemed to have more serious needs than addresses—sanitation, sources of clean water, healthcare, even roofs to protect them from the monsoon. But the lack of addresses was depriving those living in the slums a chance to get out of them. Without an address, it’s nearly impossible to get a bank account. And without a bank account, you can’t save money, borrow money, or receive a state pension.
In the 1980s, the World Bank was zeroing in on one of the driving forces behind poor economic growth in the developing world: insecure land ownership. In other words, there was no centralized database of who owned any given property, which made it difficult to buy or sell land, or use it to get credit. And it’s hard to tax land when you don’t know who owns it.
Street addresses boosted democracy, allowing for easier voter registration and mapping of voting districts. They strengthened security, as unaddressed territories make it easy for crime to flourish. (On a less positive note, they also make it easy to find political dissidents.)
inclusion is one of the secret weapons of street addresses. Employees at the World Bank soon found that addresses were helping to empower the people who lived there by helping them to feel a part of society.
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"An exuberant work of popular history: the story of how streets got their names and houses their numbers, and why something as seemingly mundane as an address can save lives or enforce power. When most people think about street addresses, if they think of them at all, it is in their capacity to ensure that the postman can deliver mail or a traveler won't get lost. But street addresses were not invented to help you find your way; they were created to find you. Addresses arose out of a grand Enlightenment project to name and number the streets, but they are also a way for people to be identified and tracked by those in power. As Deirdre Mask explains, the practice of numbering houses was popularized in eighteenth-century Vienna by Maria Theresa, leader of the Hapsburg Empire, to tax her subjects and draft them into her military. In many parts of the world, your address can reveal your race and class, causing them to be a shorthand for snobbery or discrimination. In this wide-ranging and remarkable book, Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany, and why numbered streets dominate in America but not in Europe. The flipside of having an address is not having one, and we see what that means for millions of people today, including those who live in the slums of Kolkata, on the streets of London, or in post-earthquake Haiti. Filled with fascinating people and histories, The Address Book illuminates the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name,to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn't-and why"--

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