How the Other Half Lives was a pioneering work of photojournalism by Jacob Riis, documenting the squalid living conditions in New York City slums in the 1880s. It served as a basis for future muckraking journalism by exposing the slums to New York City's upper and middle class. How The Other Half Lives quickly became a landmark in the annals of social reform. Riis documented the filth, disease, exploitation, and overcrowding that characterized the experience of more than one million immigrants. He helped push tenement reform to the front of New York's political agenda, and prompted then-Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to close down the police-run poor houses. Roosevelt later called Riis "the most useful citizen of New York". Riis's idea inspired Jack London to write a similar exposâe on London's East End, called People of the Abyss.
On a separate note, while this edition is ideal because of the photographs, there are far too many typos to make it an ideal edition text-wise. If careful editing is one of your pet peeves (as it is mine), you might consider reading a different text, and just perusing this one for the documentary photography alone.
Still, if you're interested in the subject, this is a worthwhile resource.
Sante, in the introduction, claims that Riis is not so bad as other writers of the time and that may be, but it was jarring, nonetheless.