Chicago

1919

1919

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NPR Best Books of 2019
Chicago Tribune Best Books of 2019

Chicago Review of Books Best Poetry Book of 2019
O Magazine Best Books by Women of Summer 2019
The Millions Must-Read Poetry of June 2019
LitHub Most Anticipated Reads of Summer 2019


The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, the most intense of the riots comprising the nation's Red Summer, has shaped the last century but is not widely discussed. In 1919, award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing explores the story of this event--which lasted eight days and resulted in thirty-eight deaths and almost 500 injuries--through poems recounting the stories of everyday people trying to survive and thrive in the city. Ewing uses speculative and Afrofuturist lenses to recast history, and illuminates the thin line between the past and the present.

1933 Chicago World's Fair: A Century of Progress

1933 Chicago World's Fair: A Century of Progress

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Chicago's 1933 world's fair set a new direction for international expositions. Earlier fairs had exhibited technological advances, but Chicago's fair organizers used the very idea of progress to buoy national optimism during the Depression's darkest years. Orchestrated by business leaders and engineers, almost all former military men, the fair reflected a business-military-engineering model that envisioned a promising future through science and technology's application to everyday life. Fair organizers, together with corporate leaders, believed that progress rides on the tide of technological innovation and consumerism.

But not all those who struggled for a voice at Chicago's 1933 exposition had abandoned the traditional notions of progress that entailed social justice and equality, recognition of ethnic and gender-related accomplishments, and personal freedom and expression. The stark pronouncement of the fair's motto, "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms," was challenged by iconoclasts such as Sally Rand, whose provocative fan dance became a persistent symbol of the fair, as well as a handful of others, including African Americans, ethnic populations and foreign nationals, groups of working women, and even well-heeled socialites. They all met obstacles but ultimately introduced personal, social definitions of "progress" and thereby influenced the ways the fair took shape.

In this engaging social and cultural history, Cheryl R. Ganz examines Chicago's second world's fair through the lenses of technology, ethnicity, and gender. The book also features eighty-six photographs--nearly half of which are full color--of key locations, exhibits, and people, as well as authentic ticket stubs, postcards, pamphlets, posters, and other items. From fan dancers to fan belts, The 1933 Chicago World's Fair: A Century of Progress offers the compelling, untold stories of fair planners and participants who showcased education, industry, and entertainment to sell optimism during the depths of the Great Depression.

A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago

A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago

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In 1921, Ben Hecht wrote a column for the Chicago Daily News that his editor called "journalism extraordinary; journalism that invaded the realm of literature." Hecht's collection of sixty-four of these pieces, illustrated with striking pen drawings by Herman Rosse, is a timeless caricature of urban American life in the jazz age, updated with a new Introduction for the twenty-first century. From the glittering opulence of Michigan Avenue to the darkest ruminations of an escaped convict, from captains of industry to immigrant day laborers, Hecht captures 1920s Chicago in all its furor, intensity, and absurdity.

"The hardboiled audacity and wit that became Hecht's signature as Hollywood's most celebrated screen-writer are conspicuous in these vignettes. Most of them are comic and sardonic, some strike muted tragic or somber atmospheric notes. . . . The best are timeless character sketches that have taken on an added interest as shards of social history."--L. S. Klepp, Voice Literary Supplement

A. Philip Randolph and the Struggle for Civil Rights

A. Philip Randolph and the Struggle for Civil Rights

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A. Philip Randolph's career as a trade unionist and civil rights activist fundamentally shaped the course of black protest in the mid-twentieth century. Standing alongside individuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Marcus Garvey at the center of the cultural renaissance and political radicalism that shaped communities such as Harlem in the 1920s and into the 1930s, Randolph fashioned an understanding of social justice that reflected a deep awareness of how race complicated class concerns, especially among black laborers. Examining Randolph's work in lobbying for the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, threatening to lead a march on Washington in 1941, and establishing the Fair Employment Practice Committee, Cornelius L. Bynum shows that Randolph's push for African American equality took place within a broader progressive program of industrial reform. Some of Randolph's pioneering plans for engineering change--which served as foundational strategies in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s--included direct mass action, nonviolent civil disobedience, and purposeful coalitions between black and white workers. Bynum interweaves biographical information on Randolph with details on how he gradually shifted his thinking about race and class, full citizenship rights, industrial organization, trade unionism, and civil rights protest throughout his activist career.
Algren: A Life

Algren: A Life

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Chicago Writers Association Nonfiction Book of the Year (2017)
Society of Midland Authors Literary Award in Biography (2017)

A tireless champion of the downtrodden, Nelson Algren, one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th century, lived an outsider's life himself. He spent a month in prison as a young man for the theft of a typewriter; his involvement in Marxist groups earned him a lengthy FBI dossier; and he spent much of his life palling around with the sorts of drug addicts, prostitutes, and poor laborers who inspired and populated his novels and short stories.

Most today know Algren as the radical, womanizing writer of The Man with the Golden Arm, which won the first National Book Award, in 1950, but award-winning reporter Mary Wisniewski offers a deeper portrait. Starting with his childhood in the City of Big Shoulders, Algren sheds new light on the writer's most momentous periods, from his on-again-off-again work for the WPA to his stint as an uninspired soldier in World War II to his long-distance affair with his most famous lover, Simone de Beauvoir, to the sense of community and acceptance Algren found in the artist colony of Sag Harbor before his death in 1981.

Wisniewski interviewed dozens of Algren's closest friends and inner circle, including photographer Art Shay and author and historian Studs Terkel, and tracked down much of his unpublished writing and correspondence. She unearths new details about the writer's life, work, personality, and habits and reveals a funny, sensitive, and romantic but sometimes exasperating, insecure, and self-destructive artist. biography The first new biography of Algren in over 25 years, this fresh look at the man whose unique style and compassionate message enchanted readers and fellow writers and whose boyish charm seduced many women is indispensable to anyone interested in 20-century American literature and history.

All the World Is Here!:The Black Presence at White City

All the World Is Here!:The Black Presence at White City

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This entrancing book looks at [the clash of class and caste within the black community] . . . . An important reexamination of African American history.
--Choice

The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago showed the world that America had come of age. Dreaming that they could participate fully as citizens, African Americans flocked to the fair by the thousands. All the World Is Here! examines why they came and the ways in which they took part in the Exposition. Their expectations varied. Well-educated, highly assimilated African Americans sought not just representation but also membership at the highest level of decision making and planning. They wanted to participate fully in all intellectual and cultural events. Instead, they were given only token roles and used as window dressing. Their stories of pathos and joy, disappointment and hope, are part of the lost history of White City. Frederick Douglass, who embodied the dream that inclusion within the American mainstream was possible, would never forget America's World's Fair snub.

Becoming

Becoming

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In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As first lady of the United States of America - the first African American to serve in that role - she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the US and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites listeners into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her - from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it - in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations - and whose story inspires us to do the same.

Best of Royko: The Tribune Years

Best of Royko: The Tribune Years

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For more than 30 years, Mike Royko was a part of the daily fabric of Chicagoans' lives, penning often humorous and always honest columns first for the Chicago Daily News, then the Sun-Times, and finally the Tribune. Culled from thousands of his Tribune columns and edited by his son David Royko, this collection offers up his best material from the last stage in his career, which was cut short by his premature death in 1997.
Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story (Chicago Visions and Revisions)

Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story (Chicago Visions and Revisions)

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It started with the searing sound of a slide careening up the neck of an electric guitar. In 1970, twenty-three-year-old Bruce Iglauer walked into Florence's Lounge, in the heart of Chicago's South Side, and was overwhelmed by the joyous, raw Chicago blues of Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers. A year later, Iglauer produced Hound Dog's debut album in eight hours and pressed a thousand copies, the most he could afford. From that one album grew Alligator Records, the largest independent blues record label in the world.

Bitten by the Blues is Iglauer's memoir of a life immersed in the blues--and the business of the blues. No one person was present at the creation of more great contemporary blues music than Iglauer: he produced albums by Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Professor Longhair, Johnny Winter, Lonnie Mack, Son Seals, Roy Buchanan, Shemekia Copeland, and many other major figures. In this book, Iglauer takes us behind the scenes, offering unforgettable stories of those charismatic musicians and classic sessions, delivering an intimate and unvarnished look at what it's like to work with the greats of the blues. It's a vivid portrait of some of the extraordinary musicians and larger-than-life personalities who brought America's music to life in the clubs of Chicago's South and West Sides. Bitten by the Blues is also an expansive history of half a century of blues in Chicago and around the world, tracing the blues recording business through massive transitions, as a genre of music originally created by and for black southerners adapted to an influx of white fans and musicians and found a worldwide audience.

Most of the smoky bars and packed clubs that fostered the Chicago blues scene have long since disappeared. But their soul lives on, and so does their sound. As real and audacious as the music that shaped it, Bitten by the Blues is a raucous journey through the world of Genuine Houserockin' Music.

Blood Runs Green: The Murder That Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago

Blood Runs Green: The Murder That Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago

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It was the biggest funeral Chicago had seen since Lincoln's. On May 26, 1889, four thousand mourners proceeded down Michigan Avenue, followed by a crowd forty thousand strong, in a howl of protest at what commentators called one of the ghastliest and most curious crimes in civilized history. The dead man, Dr. P. H. Cronin, was a respected Irish physician, but his brutal murder uncovered a web of intrigue, secrecy, and corruption that stretched across the United States and far beyond.

Blood Runs Green tells the story of Cronin's murder from the police investigation to the trial. It is a story of hotheaded journalists in pursuit of sensational crimes, of a bungling police force riddled with informers and spies, and of a secret revolutionary society determined to free Ireland but succeeding only in tearing itself apart. It is also the story of a booming immigrant population clamoring for power at a time of unprecedented change.

From backrooms to courtrooms, historian Gillian O'Brien deftly navigates the complexities of Irish Chicago, bringing to life a rich cast of characters and tracing the spectacular rise and fall of the secret Irish American society Clan na Gael. She draws on real-life accounts and sources from the United States, Ireland, and Britain to cast new light on Clan na Gael and reveal how Irish republicanism swept across the United States. Destined to be a true crime classic, Blood Runs Green is an enthralling tale of a murder that captivated the world and reverberated through society long after the coffin closed.

It was the biggest funeral Chicago had seen since Lincoln’s. On May 26, 1889, four thousand mourners proceeded down Michigan Avenue, followed by a crowd forty thousand strong, in a howl of protest at what commentators called one of the ghastliest and most curious crimes in civilized history. The dead man, Dr. P. H. Cronin, was a respected Irish physician, but his brutal murder uncovered a web of intrigue, secrecy, and corruption that stretched across the United States and far beyond.


Blood Runs Green tells the story of Cronin’s murder from the police investigation to the trial. It is a story of hotheaded journalists in pursuit of sensational crimes, of a bungling police force riddled with informers and spies, and of a secret revolutionary society determined to free Ireland but succeeding only in tearing itself apart. It is also the story of a booming immigrant population clamoring for power at a time of unprecedented change.

From backrooms to courtrooms, historian Gillian O’Brien deftly navigates the complexities of Irish Chicago, bringing to life a rich cast of characters and tracing the spectacular rise and fall of the secret Irish American society Clan na Gael. She draws on real-life accounts and sources from the United States, Ireland, and Britain to cast new light on Clan na Gael and reveal how Irish republicanism swept across the United States. Destined to be a true crime classic, Blood Runs Green is an enthralling tale of a murder that captivated the world and reverberated through society long after the coffin closed.