Government Project

Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1951.

This is an account of an attempt by one of the biggest, most efficient, and most democratic of governments — that of the United States — to remake the lives of a few of its citizens by establishing a cooperative farm at Casa Grande in the Arizona desert. These few… More

Politics, Planning, and the Public Interest

With Martin Meyerson, Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1955.

“This book suggests a number of generalizations about public housing in this country. The moral of the story it tells is that planning of public housing is a meaningless intellectual exercise unless political reactions to the plans are effectively anticipated. The book points out… More

The Moral Basis of a Backward Society

With Laura Fasano, Glencoe, IL: The Free Press, 1958.

“This small book packs a terrific punch…. It describes a village near Potenza in southern Italy, where only officials specifically appointed for that purpose do anything for the community. The author inquires why this is so. He examines and discards as only partially… More

Government and Housing in Metropolitan Areas

With Morton M. Grodzins, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1958.

Turning to Government and Housing in Metropolitan Areas, I found the steadying hand of good, sound economics…. Banfield and Grodzins point out that the two-headed aspect of the housing industry, social and economic, is only the beginning of its Medusa complexities. They discuss the… More

A Report on the Politics of Boston

With Martha Derthick, Cambridge, MA: Joint Center for Urban Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, 1960.

“This report was edited by Edward C. Banfield and Martha Derthick, the latter of whom went on to fame as a political scientist at the Brookings Institution and the University of Virginia. The volume contains research reports written by Harvard undergraduate and graduate students on… More

Urban Government: A Reader in Politics and Administration

New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1961.

Edward Banfield selected a series of works to illustrate different key issues in urban politics. There are eight sections: Urban Government as a Subject for Study; Urban Government in the Federal System; The Machine and Its Reform; “Good Government”; The Trend of Urban… More

Political Influence: A New Theory of Urban Politics

New York: The Free Press of Glencoe, 1961/1982. A reprint with a new introduction by James Q. Wilson was published in 2003.

In government, influence denotes one’s ability to get others to act, think, or feel as one intends. A mayor who persuades voters to approve a bond issue exercises influence. A businessman whose promises of support induce a mayor to take action exercises influence. In Political… More

American Foreign Aid Doctrines

Washington: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, January 1963.

In his study, American Foreign Aid Doctrines, Professor Banfield critically examines the premises of aid doctrines as to both fact and value. As a critique of present aid doctrine, his study suggests that the time is long overdue for a reappraisal of our foreign aid programs in terms of… More

City Politics

With James Q. Wilson, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1963.

City Politics examines the structure of urban politics: the electoral system, the distribution of authority, the centralization of influence; and analyzes the forces and groups involved: reform, non-partisanship, businessmen, the Negroes. The authors see a steady trend toward middle-class… More

Boston: The Job Ahead

With Martin Meyerson, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966.

“Two university scholars of outstanding ability, Martin Meyerson and Edward C. Banfield…. were invited by Boston business leaders to publish a series of 12 essays on key public policy topics. These reached a mass audience by being printed as full-page, uncensored… More

The Unheavenly City

Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1970.

“‘This book will probably strike many readers as the work of an ill-tempered and mean-spirited fellow.’ These words begin Edward Banfield’s 1970 classic, The Unheavenly City, one of the most contentious, interesting, and insightful books ever written on urban… More

The Unheavenly City Revisited: A Revision of the Unheavenly City

Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1974.

The Unheavenly City is one of the most widely read and widely debated books on contemporary American urban problems. In the more than twenty years since this book was written, the situation of the American city has not changed fundamentally. This is particularly true of the big cities an… More

The Democratic Muse: Visual Arts and the Public Interest

New York: Basic Books, 1984.

“Banfield’s book is about the following subjects: various definitions of artistic purpose and activity; the legislative and political histories of the National Endowment for the Arts; the administration of that agency; the operation and raison d’etre of public… More

Here the People Rule: Selected Essays

New York: Plenum Press, 1985. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1991.

This book of essays includes Edward C. Banfield’s most important insights into the American political system. “What Banfield has done…has been to challenge the central tenet of Progressive thought in America, namely, that society could and should be rationalized (and for… More

Civility and Citizenship in Liberal Democratic Societies

New York: Paragon House, 1992.

How do civility and citizenship, aspects of the individual’s attachment to a liberal democratic society, affect the nature and future of that society? This book reminds us of the fragility of a good political order and the complexities of maintaining liberal democracy, even when… More