A splendid biography that combines the personal side of a dedicated man with his substantive achievements in making local government direct, accessible, and understandable. The text clearly distinguishes and explains the complementary components of the ideal city. The discussion of proportional representation, for example, is the best, most concise explanation I have seen.
Bernard Hirschhorn has built a splendid biography that combines the personal side of a dedicated man with his substantive achievements in making local government direct, accessible, and understandable. The text clearly distinguishes and explains the complementary components of the ideal city. The discussion of proportional representation for example, is the best, most concise explaination I have seen. The author has captured the interlocking elements of civic reform in ways that help us conceptualize changes.
^IDemocracy Reformed^R is a thoroughly researched, well-structured and well-written study that is, essentially, a narrative biography of one of America's great political reformers. As the first full-scale biography of Childs, Hirschhorn's study has filled a hole in the historical record and should be read by anyone interested in American political reform, particularly municipal government reform, during the twentieth century.
Hirschhorn makes the important point that the Progressives' commitment to efficiency was not simply a smokescreen for economy in government...instead, by 'efficiency,' Progressives like Childs meant the ability to discern the popular will and to translate it into practice.
Incredibly, [this book] is the first full-scale, interpretive biograpy of the man who had a greater impact upon the structure of municipal government in the 20th century United States than any other person. Bernard Hirschhorn has told his story with sensitivity and grace.
Few city managers, local government specialists, even 20th-century historians, probably have heard the name 'Richard Childs.' Yet, more than any other single person, he was responsible for 'inventing' and promoting the institution of council-manager government. Dr. Hirschhorn has written a splendid, comprehensive biography of Childs, his work and ideas, that so significantly transformed the landscape of modern urban America. ^IDemocracy Reformed^R is certainly a must-read for professionals working in this field who want to gain a deeper appreciation of 'their calling.'
Dr. Hirschhorn has captured the energy and enthusiasm of one of the great pioneers of political reform....This book will be of inestimable value to researchers examining the history of this movement toward professionalism in cities.
[A]n outstanding description and evaluation of Richard Childs' life-long crusade to strengthen democracy within local government.
I am very glad that [Richard Childs'] historic contributions have been memoralized in Bernard Hirschhorn's new book....No one better understood how vital a role local government plays in our society and Richard Childs' early involvement in the concept of town managers and charters continues to bear fruit today as we see more and more towns and cities adopting the charter/manager form of government.
[Richard Childs] was the epitome of the Progressive Era crusader. However, he uniquely lived 50 years beyond that time and so helped keep alive, and follow through to success, many of [the] reform age ideas.