When Jim Botticelli launched the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page as a salute to the gritty city he once knew, he discovered that thousands of people were equally nostalgic and curious about Boston’s recent past. And for good reason; during the four decades following World War II, Boston changed rapidly, without apology, for better and for worse, and in many ways forever.
Rich and compelling, Dirty Old Boston chronicles the people, streets, and buildings from the postwar years to 1987. From ball games to dive bars, and amidst an ever-changing skyline, Dirty Old Boston captures some of the city’s most dramatic and tumultuous events including the wholesale razing of neighborhoods, Boston’s busing crisis, and the continual fight for affordable housing.
Photographs—assembled from family albums, student projects, institutional archives, and professional collections—reveal Boston as seen from the streets. What emerges is a narrative of a city tearing down and rebuilding, protesting and celebrating, fading and thriving. Illuminating Boston’s singular tenacity and spirit, Dirty Old Boston presents our proud moments and doesn’t shy away from our growing pains. Raw and beautiful, this book is an important and evocative tribute to the city and its people.