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Mr. Ehrenhalt’s travels have given him a front-row view of “The Great Inversion.” His report makes a convincing case that the trends result from popular will. Furthermore, the author believes a reversion to the “white flight” syndrome of the last 50 years will, in the next half-century, become passe.

People, whether in cities or suburbs, will gravitate to living quarters closer to employment and shopping in part because many of them are sick, sick, sick of commuting behind the wheel over long distances through insufferable traffic.

Whatever this book’s flaws, Alan Ehrenhalt’s up-close findings are fascinating.

Wes Vernon is a journalist whose career included 25 years with CBS Radio. His column appears regularly at