If anyone is curious about why people live where they live, this book is a must read. Richard Rothstein makes an irrefutable, well-researched, and well written account of how our government segregated America, created ghettos, allowed suburbs to be whites-only, and created the multi-generational problem that still exists today. Every aspect of the government was involved: federal, state, local, city commissions, non-profits, churches, community groups, administrative agencies, the police. The book expands its analysis to other kinds of discrimination that compounded segregation: whites-only unions, taxing African American homeowners more than white people, building schools to reinforce segregation, suppressing the incomes of African Americans in various ways, and physical violence towards African Americans trying to move into white neighborhoods - which the police largely ignored.
The book offers many moderate, urban planning solutions to foster integration. But he also thinks a radical solution is in order, if only we could accept as a country that the problem necessitates a remedy that matches the damage already done:
"We might contemplate a remedy like this: Considering that African Americans comprise about 15 percent of the population of the New York metropolitan area, the federal government should purchase the next 15 percent of houses that come up for sale in Levittown at today's market rates (approximately $350,000). It should then resell the properties to qualified African Americans for $75,000, the price (in today's dollars) that their grandparents would have paid if permitted to do so. The government should enact this program in every suburban development whose construction complied with the FHA's discriminatory requirements [referring to racist FHA policy]".