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In this unique and fascinating study of family structure and its relation to urban economic and social life, Richard Sennett analyzes how middle class families lived and worked in a Chicago neighborhood during two decades of the city’s massive industrial development. He compares the adaptive capacity of different types of family structures to the new metropolis and traces the patterns of defense and shelter that these families, as a whole, forged against the urban environment. The author suggests what patterns in the lives of these people have persisted into the family structure of modern middle class urban homes.