Unlocking City Hall is a practical how-to-guide for teachers, students, and community residents who want to explore the turbulent, important history of local
government and politics. This book details a variety of topics to study, ranging from public services to campaigns and elections, from public employees and elected officials to the volatile history of urban politics. The author suggests questions to ask about each topic, identifies sources to use and where to find them, and outlines how local historians can present their findings.
"… well written with an excellent argument for the significance of local history… Particularly valuable is the way Homel, in parts 2 and 3, elucidates specific topics, links each with numerous research questions pertaining to that subject, and briefly reviews a relevant work by a professional historian." -- Dennis N. Mihelich, The
Annals of Iowa
"Public historian, graduate student, or interested citizen, whether researching a celebratory exhibit of local fire department history, a contract study of voting patterns, or a capstone paper on public housing, each will find Unlocking City Hall useful and stimulating. Michael Homel's invitation to the "smaller canvas" of local government is an excellent addition to the admirable series of Exploring Community History research manuals." -- Lorraine
McConaghy, The Public Historian
"… clear, sensible primer to probe the past of local governments and politics… brims with suggestions of possible subjects for research that are offered not in perfunctory lists but amplified with thoughtful questions that a student might ask about each of them." -- Herbert Janick, Teaching History: A Journal of Methods, Vol. 30, No.1, Spring 2005