Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America's Legendary Suburb
By David Kushner
(Walker & Company, Hardcover, 9780802716194, 256pp.)
Publication Date: February 3, 2009
List Price: $26.00*
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The dark side of the American dream: the true story of the first African-American family to move into the iconic suburb, Levittown, PA .In the decade after World War II , one entrepreneurial family helped thousands of people buy into the American dream of owning a home. T he Levitts—William, Alfred, and their father, Abe—pooled their talents to create storybook towns with affordable little houses. T hey laid out the welcome mat, but not to everyone. Levittown had a whites-only policy. The events that unfolded in Levittown, PA, in the unseasonably hot summer of 1957 would rock the community. There, a white Jewish Communist family named Wechsler secretly arranged for a black family, the Myerses, to buy the pink house next door. T he explosive reaction would transform their lives, and the nation, leading to the downfall of a titan and the integration of the most famous suburb in the world. Levittown is a story of hope and fear, invention and rebellion, and the power that comes when ordinary people take an extraordinary stand. And it is as relevant today, more than fifty years later, as it was then.
David Kushner is the author of Masters of Doom and Jonny Magic and the Card Shark Kids. A contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Wired, he has also been published in the New York Times, New York, Entertainment Weekly, Parade, Salon, and the Village Voice. He does commentary for NPR, and teaches journalism at New Y ork U niversity. Kushner lives not far from Levittown in New Jersey.