In this nuanced look at white working-class life and politics in
twentieth-century America, Kenneth Durr takes readers into the
neighborhoods, workplaces, and community institutions of
blue-collar Baltimore in the decades after World War II.
Challenging notions that the "white backlash" of the 1960s and
1970s was driven by increasing race resentment, Durr details the
rise of a working-class populism shaped by mistrust of the means
and ends of postwar liberalism in the face of urban decline.
Exploring the effects of desegregation, deindustrialization,
recession, and the rise of urban crime, Durr shows how legitimate
economic, social, and political grievances convinced white
working-class Baltimoreans that they were threatened more by the
actions of liberal policymakers than by the incursions of urban
While acknowledging the parochialism and racial exclusivity of
white working-class life, Durr adopts an empathetic view of workers
and their institutions. Behind the Backlash
labor, and political history to paint a rich portrait of urban
life--and the sweeping social and economic changes that reshaped
America's cities and politics in the late twentieth century.