In Obama's America public works is once again a part of the national dialogue. Today it is offered as a solution to the economic downturn and to the public infrastructure crisis. This timely book examines the reasons for the economic crisis facing Main Street, and connects them to why the nation has structurally deficient bridges, weak levees, poorly maintained dams, and dilapidated schools. The book goes on to analyse the history of US public works, updating lessons from the New Deal, to understand the most effective way to organise a modern US civic works project, based on a civic works pilot project for the Gulf Coast. One chapter features new contributions by Howard Zinn, Angela Glover Blackwell, and other leading scholars and thinkers weighing in on how an US civic works project might solve our economic, infrastructure, and environmental crises.