Finally, Another Way to Read Dream City
Since it came out in 1994, Dream City has been the go-to book to learn about Marion Barry's mayoral administration and the District's tragicomic post-Home Rule politics. Since the book has been out of print, though, would-be Wilson Building scholars faced the choice of forking over $100 for a copy online or entering the months-long wait for a copy from the D.C. library.
That's changing this week, though, with the publication of a new ebook version of Dream City that includes an afterword from authors Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood. While the book is currently only available on Kindle, Jaffe says more ebook formats will follow later.
The new edition comes in time for both the book's 20th anniversary and the launch of a program that uses the book in D.C. public schools. Making the book more accessible to students was what finally got the long-brewing project done, according to Jaffe.
LL hasn't read the new edition yet ($6.39 doesn't grow on trees, even if the new edition of the book doesn't, either), but Jaffe says the afterword includes previously unreported details about Vince Gray shadow campaign financier Jeff Thompson's roots in District politics. While the afterword is "very clipped," per Jaffe, it still has one thing in common with the original book.
"Marion is laced through it," Jaffe says. "Because Marion is laced through the last 20 years."
For much, much more Dream City news, look for LL's cover story in next week's Washington City Paper, an oral history of the book and the second-generation appreciation for it.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery