Comment 49970

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 09:33:43

I don't mean it to sound discouraging. I certainly applaud your pasion for the city and municipal politics in particular; fresh eyes are as vital to Hamilton's civic reawakening as fresh blood. What I was getting at is that, as you start to dig deeper into the back story of the political decision-making of the city, I think you'll start to detect a chronic pattern of mid-C20 thinking, missed opportunities, misguided largesse and wavering when the moment called for decisiveness.

One book that frequently when conversation turns to this direction is the candid peek behind the scenes of Hamilton at the beginning of its industrial decline in the begging-for-a-second-edition Their Town: The Mafia, The Media and the Party Machine (Lorimer, 1979, edited by Bill Freeman and Marsha Hewitt):

Other worthwhile primers woth keeping your eyes peeled for include...

John Weaver's Housing the North American City (MQUP, 1991):

Downtown Hamilton: the Heart of It All (Fountain Foundation, 1995)

Bill Freeman's Hamilton: A People's History (Lorimer, 2006):

And if after all of that you'd like the historical equivalent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, allow me to suggest the ever-delightful Pardon My Lunch Bucket, an anniversary publication issued by the city in in 1973 which features tantalizing Peter Max-like glimpses of the future -- jet-powered monorail, hydrofoil ferries and waterfront highrises that resemble inverted pyramids. Alan Parsons would be right at home.

I would also recommend spending a lazy afternoon getting your bearings in the Hamilton Public Library's Local History & Archives Department: . The staff tends to be a bit cloistered, but they know their stuff, and if you're genuinely interested you can work your way into their good graces.

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