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From Publishers Weekly
A provocative and disturbing photographic document, Mel Rosenthal's In the South Bronx of America captures the willful destruction primarily by fire of the South Bronx during the years 1975 to 1983. In some photos, false fronts are pasted on the windows of burned-out buildings to camouflage the blight as the area was being readied for real-estate developers and business owners. Grace Paley, Martha Rosler and Barry Phillips join Bronx native Rosenthal in contributing probing and piercing essays.
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From Library Journal
These publications are poignant visual reminders of shameful times in our nation's past and of the remarkable endurance of human beings. In 1975, after a 20-year absence from his birthplace, Rosenthal returned to the South Bronx to become director of the photography program at Empire State College, a branch of SUNY. He found buildings abandoned or burned down, garbage piled everywhere, disease and crime rampant all the result of "planned shrinkage," in which city services to an unsuspecting... read more
Residents of New York City's South Bronx neighborhood live amidst what is frequently described as the most severe and widespread poverty in any U.S. metropolitan area. In the South Bronx of America is a work which, through documentary photographs, counterpointed with statements by residents and by newspaper reports and statistical information, offers both an intimate view of life in this neighborhood and a context for understanding the last two decades of accelerated social decay. In the words of Penny Coleman, New York Times photographer, In the South Bronx of America, "is important because it is not cynical, because it is a sincere attempt to provide the awareness necessary for change."