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W. W. Norton & Company
352 pages
Product Description
<p><strong>Social reformer Jacob Riis made it impossible for Americans to look the other way; now this inspiring biography restores his greatness.</strong></p> Drawing on previously unexamined diaries and letters, <em>The Other Half</em> marvelously re-creates the moving story of Jacob Riis, the legendary Progressive reformer and muckraking photographer. Born in 1849 in rural Denmark, Riis immigrated to America in 1870 following a devastating romantic breakup. Penniless and starving, Riis stumbled into journalism, eventually becoming a charismatic police reporter for the <em>New York Tribune</em>, where he befriended Theodore Roosevelt and witnessed firsthand the appalling tenement conditions of late nineteenth-century New York. His resulting exposé, <em>How the Other Half Lives</em>, was the first major American muckraking book. It brought Americans in touch with their lost humanity, establishing a precedent for Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, Jane Addams, and Upton Sinclair. Described by Roosevelt as "the ideal American," Riis died in 1914, mourned by millions, a celebrated hero. Tom Buk-Swienty's long-awaited biography, a superb evocation of the muckraking era, is a compelling work, designed with 55 haunting images from Riis's own photographic oeuvre. 55 photographs