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The Enduring Effect of Neighborhoods

Harvard sociologist Robert J. Sampson on his new book, Great American City.
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Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam mapped the traumatic decline in social capital across America. Commentators from Bill Bishop in The Big Sort to Charles Murray in Coming Apart have detailed the growing economic, political, and cultural forces that divide our communities.

But Robert J. Sampson's important new book, Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect, challenges prevailing notions of community decline. Sampson, an urban sociologist who is the Henry Ford II Professor of Social Sciences at Harvard University, argues that our communities continue to matter a great deal and that our lives are powerfully shaped by where we live. William Julius Wilson lauds the book as "one of the most comprehensive and sophisticated empirical studies ever conducted by a social scientist."