Dream City

Race, Power, and the Decline (revival?) of Washington, D.C.


20th Anniversary Edition

Praise for Dream City

what readers are saying

“If you want to understand Marion Barry, the ‘mayor-for-life’ of Washington, D.C…start with this magisterial account.”

A Best Book of 2014

“A vigorous and resonant portrait of the 30-year decline and polarization of our capital…a memorable and disturbing reminder of much unfinished urban business.”

“In relentless detail, sometimes with almost novelistic drama, the authors describe the murder and mayhem, lawlessness and drug wars, addiction and despair into which a once placid, middle-class city has been allowed to descend.”

-Tom Wicker

“This is a terrific read. The authors, in a highly readable, page-turning style, take us through the recent history of America’s least-understood major city. By all means – read it!”

– Larry King

Dream City should be required reading for every student and faculty member in all of the colleges and universities in the District of Columbia.

– Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity Washington University

“A riveting, well researched account of D.C.’s stormy introduction to home rule, under the wary eye of a doubting Congress … few heroes emerge on either side.”

– Patrick Leahy, United States Senator

“A stunning achievement with breadth of vision and wealth of detail. Jaffe and Sherwood tell the definitive story of Washington in our time…This book is required reading for all Washingtonians – natives, newcomers, and expatriates – who would dare to understand the past in order to rescue the future.”

—Jamin B. Raskin, Maryland State Senator

“Their careful and persuasive examination of all the conflicting strains that course through the nation’s capital holds a lesson for all Americans who confront similar problems in their cities and communities. Both compelling and disturbing, this is a book that deserves the widest possible audience.”

– Haynes Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

“A vivid account of how the complex legacies of white racism and white guilt commingled with the deep hurt and mistrust at the center of black politics to let one man, Marion Berry, preempt the development of an integrated civic culture in our nation’s capital.”

– Jim Sleeper, author and journalist

  • Slate
  • Kirkus
  • Tom Wicker, NY Times
  • Larry King
  • Trinity
  • Patrick Leahy
  • Raskin
  • Johnson
  • Sleeper

Meet the Authors

Washington, D.C. Journalists

Harry Jaffe

Harry Jaffe

A national editor at The Washingtonian magazine, he has received a number of awards for investigative journalism and feature writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. … more»

Tom Sherwood

Tom Sherwood

A reporter for NBC4 in Washington, he specializes in politics and the D.C. government. He has twice been honored as one of the Top 50 Journalists in Washington by The Washingtonian.… more»