Review by Kirkus Book Review
William Worthy is a black journalist best known for his sucessful fight to regain his passport after an unauthorized trip to China in the Fifties; here he takes on the ""unneighborly institutions""--hospitals, universities, churches primarily--that have been spreading at the expense of local communities, their housing, small businesses, and very existence. Worthy himself spent five years (1969-1973) battling to save his apartment building from the expansionist aims of New York's undistinguished Columbus Hospital, run by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart--the order founded by American Mother Cabrini, ""patron saint of the homeless."" His point is that, despite their noble pretensions, Columbus and other non-profit institutions are no more principled in their pursuit of aggrandizement than the ordinary corporation, and that they must be fought tooth-and-nail until an ironclad guarantee against encroachment is secured. How the residents of 210-214 East 19th Street saved their homes--through organization, vigilance, litigation, demonstrations, and adroit use of the media--makes an instructive example, as Worthy intends; but this section like his overall indictment is weakened by lack of order and subordination. This is true also of his subsequent examples of encroachment successfully resisted--or not--in his hometown of Boston and elsewhere. Evidence, motives, root causes, and remedies are jumbled together as if the author's index notes had been shuffled rather than sorted. But experience and research have made Worthy wise to health care and education as growth industries (read him on overbedding in Oklahoma City), to the abetting role of federal and state agencies, to the difference between the old (conciliatory) and new (aggressive) politics--and to the potential for effective resistance today. With application, the interested reader can learn a lot from him. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.