Slums: Background information when reading Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo X
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2012, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2014, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Slums

Print Review

According to the UN, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums dropped 10% to 37% in the 15 years leading up to 2005. But before you break out into celebration, there's just one tiny catch - because of the rising population, the total number of people living in slums has actually increased substantially, and is expected to continue to rise from about one billion today to about two billion by 2030.

Map of Slums

Many residents vigorously oppose the description of "slum" on the basis that it leads to them being pathologized and opens them to threats of eviction (for example, this statement by the representatives of an informal settlement in Durban, South Africa). Even the United Nations (specifically the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT) has come under fire from some academics for their "Cities Without Slums" campaign which is intended to encourage urban upgrading but that some say has led to a significant increase in forced evictions as cities try to sweep the problem under the carpet.

The map above shows the estimated percentage of the urban population living in slums by country. It should be noted that just because no data is reported in the grayed out areas of the map does not mean that slums don't exist. For example, google the topic of slums in Europe and you'll find small pockets of shanty towns in Greece, Spain, France and other parts of Europe, as cities struggle to deal with an influx of often unskilled and illegal immigrants. As for the USA, while some parts of the country are extremely run down, those who have visited the shantytowns in the third world generally agree that areas of urban decay in America, and the many tent cities that have sprung up, although undoubtedly impoverished, don't come close to the conditions to be found in the third world.



Related Story
The Simple Brilliance of Liter of Light: How an old plastic bottle, water and a bit of bleach is bringing light to shantytowns across the world.

This article was originally published in February 2012, and has been updated for the April 2014 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: New World, Inc.
    New World, Inc.
    by Simon Targett, John Butman
    When we think about the founding of America, we typically envision Pilgrims in black garb and boxy ...
  • Book Jacket: New World, Inc.
    New World, Inc.
    by Simon Targett, John Butman
    When we think about the founding of America, we typically envision Pilgrims in black garb and boxy ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ensemble
    The Ensemble
    by Aja Gabel
    In May 1994, the members of the Van Ness String Quartet are completing their final graduate recital ...
  • Book Jacket: The Electric Woman
    The Electric Woman
    by Tessa Fontaine
    In 2010, author Tessa Fontaine's mother had a near-fatal hemorrhagic stroke, leaving her with a...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Harbor of Spies by Robin Lloyd

A captivating thriller-at-sea set in Spanish colonial Havana in the 1860s.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Other People's Houses
    by Abbi Waxman

    A hilarious and poignant novel about four families and the affair that changes everything.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Comedown

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin

A blistering dark comedy that explores delineating lines of race, class, religion, and time.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I Wouldn't T H W A T-F P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.