Last week, a capacity crowd gathered to hear Tom Sherwood and Harry S. Jaffe discuss Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C. The size of the audience at the Waltha T. Daniel/Shaw public library was a testament to the landmark status of the 1994 chronicle of Marion Barry’s rise and (apparent) fall. There was just one problem: No books were available. Dream City may be locally beloved, but, like most of other historic books about hometown D.C., it’s out of print.
That’s not to say readers will have to wait until the impending ebook release to get their Sherwood and Jaffe on. Plenty of copies are available online—for a price. If Dream City’s fate was the same as that of other tomes about race, power, and hometown D.C., its price on the secondary market underscores its lingering influence. A tale of the tape, via Amazon.com:
Book: The Secret City: A History of Race Relations in the Nation’s Capital
Author: Constance McLaughlin Green
Current Price: $26.50 (used). New copies unavailable.
Book: Alley Life in Washington: Family, Community, Religion and Folklife in the City, 1850-1970
Author: James Borchert
Current Price: $18.95 (new); $2.44 (used)
Book: Marion Barry: The Politics of Race
Author: Jonathan I.Z. Agronsky
Current Price: $42.14 (new); $0.01 (used)
Book: Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington D.C.
Authors: Tom Sherwood and Harry S. Jaffe
Current Price: $80 (new); $39.68 (used)
Book: The Last of the Black Emperors: The Hollow Comeback of Marion Barry in a New Age of Black Leaders
Author: Jonetta Rose Barras
Current Price: $21.81 (new); $0.01 (used)