A valuable contribution to the history of Chicago, worthy of a place alongside William Cronon’s Nature’s Metropolis (1991).

THE THIRD COAST

WHEN CHICAGO BUILT THE AMERICAN DREAM

A readable, richly detailed history of America’s second city—which, laments novelist/historian and Chicagoan Dyja (Walter White: The Dilemma of Black Identity in America, 2008, etc.), has become a third city, perhaps even less.

One reason: Until the very end of the 1950s, most people traveling from coast to coast did so by way of Chicago, where they changed trains and often spent a little layover time. On January 25, 1959, all that changed when transcontinental air service was inaugurated between New York and Los Angeles, making Chicago and the rest of the land “flyover country”; as Dyja laments, “the newly minted ‘jet set’ would never need to change trains in Chicago again.” Nevertheless, Chicago remained an innovator on several cultural and commercial fronts, the home of Playboy magazine and Chess Records, even as it settled into the strange boss politics of Richard Daley, whose rise to power Dyja carefully records. Daley wielded that power in ways that a modern tyrant might envy, using what came to be known as “The Machine” to capture the minority vote that had become important by the 1950s after the explosive growth of the nonwhite population as a result of immigration and internal migration. However, writes Dyja, it was just one node of power, the other two central ones being the Catholic Church and organized crime, all working against each other as they “protected their power above the needs of the people they served.” In the end, Los Angeles and other cities stole much of Chicago’s thunder, and Chicago “never became the city it could have been, the city it should have been.”

A valuable contribution to the history of Chicago, worthy of a place alongside William Cronon’s Nature’s Metropolis (1991).

Pub Date: April 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1594204326

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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