First Published in 2003. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
"Provocative and disturbing, this much-needed book holds up an unsparing mirror to an unsettling sign of our times." -- The New York Times
"In an engaging, first person narrative, Setha Low takes us inside gated communities throughout the United States and brings us face-to-face with the people and paranoia that reside there. This innovative ethnography reveals how fear of crime and of people of color have distorted the American dream." -- Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear
"A useful document and, in many of its conclusions, a sensible one." -- The Washington Post
"Low's interviews leave little room for doubt that those who live in gated communities do so because they want to get away from certain types of people, whether criminals or members of other classes or races. She gives a good background sketch of the ways that these communities are simply an outgrowth of centuries-old forms of social controls and class separation." -- The Washington Monthly
"[Low] combines field observations, interviews with residents, and personal reflection to create an unusual combination of academic research and creative nonfiction." -- Library Journal
"In recent years, millions of Americans have moved into gated residential communities. Setha Low's wonderful book carries the reader past the guards to assess private communities through vivid interviews that reveal residents' intense hopes and fears. Low explores the social and spatial costs of everyday life Behind the Gates in a beautifully-written, accessible book of wide appeal for general readers as well as specialists in space and design." -- Dolores Hayden, author of Redesigning the American Dream: Gender, Housing, and Family Life
"Setha Low's Behind the Gates adds depth and a new dimension to our understanding of who lives in the new Fortressed America. She looks at the people who inhabit these privatized communities with powerful analysis and good writing. Her book reveals gated community residents through a very clear lens that shows their real hopes, fears and foolishness." -- Edward J. Blakely, co-author of Fortress America
"Setha Low takes a creative approach to the fortified mentality and the inhabitants of fastest growing communities in America. Through interviews with residents on both coasts and an exploration of her own family's sense of 'home', she helps us understand the urge for safety and security. The book is original and important; spatial memories, as well as race, class and ethnic choices and prejudices are subtly explored from both the outside and insider perspective." -- Rosalyn Baxandall, co-author of Picture Windows: How the Suburbs Happened
"." -- Journal of Economic Literature
"Behind The Gates: Life, Security, And The Pursuit of Hapiness In Fortress America is an impressive and scholarly study of the gated communities phenomena... A fascinating social study, and very highly recommended reading for any one seriously concerned about the trend toward gated communities... [it] is a welcome and orginal contribution to American Urban Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists." -- Wisconsin Bookwatch
"Now with the recent publication of Setha Low's Behind the Gates, we have an ethnography that focuses on the psychology of the residents themselves... In following the vogue for multi-sited ethnography, Low forsakes the detailed "thick" description of a single setting for a range of different locations: some on New York's Long Island, several others near San Antonio, Texas, and one in Mexico City. This choice turns out to be fruitful. Whatever profundity she loses from a close residential study of a bounded community is outweighed by the insights about regional difference that her research uncovers."
-- Andrew Ross, Harvard Design Magazine
"This book's combination of style, scholarship, and significance commands attention from the academic and civic communities." -- Bruce Frankel, Ball State University, Indina Magazine of History