Review by Choice Review
Mayne's interesting study treats the creation of the concept of urban slums by the newspapers of three English-speaking cities around the turn of the 20th century. The first half of the book contains three case studies of urban problems: in Birmingham, England, from 1875 to 1914; Sydney, Australia, from 1879 to 1900; and San Francisco from 1900 to 1909. These are detailed and full, but in themselves reveal little new about modern industrial cities. The second half of the book consists of five chapters that make cogent but jargon-laden generalizations about the social construction of mental models to cope with these problems as they are revealed in major contemporary newspapers. The reader gains little significant insight into journalistic elements, e.g., contemporary conventions of newspaper reporting and editorializing, the social background of publishers and journalists, the nature of the newspaper-reading public, or the means of introducing value judgments in both news and editorials. The bibliography is useful on the urban problems themselves, but offers very little on the history of newspapers. Advanced undergraduates and above. M. Cherno; University of Virginia
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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