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How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York

How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York by Jacob A. Riis
By: (1849-1914)

How the Other Half Lives is a powerful and eye-opening exploration of the living conditions of the poor in the tenements of New York City in the late 19th century. Jacob A. Riis, a Danish immigrant and social reformer, used his camera as a tool to document the squalid conditions in which the city's working class and immigrant populations lived.

Through his vivid descriptions and striking photographs, Riis shines a light on the overcrowded and unsanitary tenement buildings, the lack of clean water and proper sanitation, and the rampant disease and crime that plagued these communities. He also delves into the social and economic factors that contributed to their hardship, including low wages, lack of education, and discrimination.

Despite the bleak subject matter, Riis' book is ultimately a call to action, urging readers to take notice of the suffering of their fellow citizens and work towards social reform. His work played a significant role in bringing about changes in housing laws and regulations in New York City and beyond.

How the Other Half Lives is a compelling and important read for anyone interested in the history of urban poverty, social justice, and the power of photography to effect change. It is a timeless reminder of the inequalities that continue to exist in our society and the need for compassion and action to address them.

Book Description:
How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York (1890) was a pioneering work of photojournalism by Jacob Riis, documenting the squalid living conditions in New York City slums in the 1880s. It served as a basis for future muckraking journalism by exposing the slums to New York City’s upper and middle class. The title of the book is a reference to a phrase of François Rabelais, who wrote in Pantagruel: "one half of the world does not know how the other half lives".

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