Lisa Belkin

Engrossing….It takes on the dimension of a cautionary tale for what might happen in cities everywhere.”

New York Times

Belkin’s skill in the art of quick-paced suspense makes for engrossing reading.”

— Patricia J. Williams, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Belkin makes clear how complicated a task it is to serve all members of a community equally, a question that will likely only become more pressing as the racial population of the United States becomes more balanced, and the once-popular method of isolating and concentrating public housing is increasingly viewed as a failure…. Show Me a Hero is a painstakingly researched chronicle. Belkin’s subjects are well-developed characters, and there is an edgy honesty in their disclosures of flaws, addictions, and once-held prejudices.”

— Lise Funderburg, Philadelphia Inquirer

Belkin is a masterful storyteller. She displays that rare combination of empathy, compassion, and the critical eye of a seasoned journalist. Show Me a Hero angers and inspires, and stands as a searing reminder that race — and yes, heroes — still very much matter.”

— Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here

This is the book of a reporter rather than that of a partisan or of one who has really been persuaded by either side. Belkin knows there is no simple answer.”

— Nathan Glazer, New York Times Book Review

An infectious page-turner. Lisa Belkin has written a wrenching social tragedy. Her real terrain is human nature, which she navigates with both compassion and unflinching honesty.”

— Samuel J. Freedman, author of The Inheritance

Belkin’s gritty book is a vivid slice of urban politics, racial tension, and the difficulties inherent in realizing the American dream… Belkin follows the housing battle through the eyes of its participants: fearful white residents of the east side; black public housing tenants anxious to escape the misery of the west-side projects.”

Publishers Weekly

Riveting deeply illuminating. A cautionary tale that illustrates the urgency of rethinking our public housing policy. Like a journalist covering a war zone, Belkin vividly follows the battle as Yonkers residents split angrily on this emotional issue.”

Kirkus Reviews

Belkin’s strength lies in her inclination to search for each character’s humanity, her understanding of how the complexities of family and community politics offer few simple choices and even fewer clear judgments.”

— James Grossman, Newsday

Show Me a Hero brings empathy and intelligence to bear as Belkin dramatizes the powerful effect on individual lives.”


Belkin spent six years researching Yonkers’ era of contempt. She deftly captures the political aspects of the conflict, but she also writes at length about the individual lives affected by it.…The richest profiles in the book are those of the low-income Yonkers citizens, the struggling, hardworking single mothers and disabled grandmothers who yearn to live in a neighborhood where they don’t have to fear for their lives. Show Me a Hero is a tragic story, tinged with hope, about how race and class are still the defining factors of community in this country.”

— Gil Jose Duran, San Jose Mercury News