CHICAGO 1860-1919 by Stephen Longstreet

CHICAGO 1860-1919

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Longstreet's newest book hits the noggin like ten tons of beef on the plate with no bicarbonate of soda in sight -- Chicago, in all possible guises, far from gourmet; "". . . there was an absence of morals bordering on genius"" in this city where everything moved; Longstreet reports on it all -- from the hundreds of whores (cf. his books on New Orleans and San Francisco) to the politicos and businessmen, the Harrisons, Armours, Swifts. Mix in the Great Fire, the Haymarket Riot, the Black Sox Scandal of 1919 -- the book reads as if it were a Sears, Roebuck catalogue of the high and mostly low life of a city that ""was ravished even while attempting culture."" A pleasurable raw ishment. His prose brawls and tumbles with the best Chicago din, skewed sentences filled with loud, fresh imagery. The book could easily have been cut in half without hurting it; less repetition and more restraint would have made it more a chronicle than a scrapbook of sixty years. The scholarly will probably dislike it, but for the general reader it's a brash, busy slice of social history.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1973
Publisher: McKay