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A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  11 reviews
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 twe ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by University Of Chicago Press (first published 1922)
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I loved this book! It was probably in part because I'm from Chicago, so many of the things Hecht wrote about were familiar to me. He's a wonderful writer-when the editor says that he took journalism and made it more literary, that description was completely correct. For anyone from Chicago, some of the columns reminded me of Mike Royko who wrote for the Tribune when I was growing up (early 1980s).

He writes a lot about the faceless crowds of the city and wondering what is going on behind the fac
What a great look into the past! Hecht captured feelings and experiences of the every day person in 1920's Chicago. A lot of the stories have a somber tone, but some were surprisingly funny. And a couple stories made fun of my place of employment! I especially appreciated that, and they were still funny!
An excellent collection of Hecht's Chicago Daily News columns from 1921. His essays explore the gamut of Roaring Twenties Chicago, from flappers to financiers to broken laborers. Even the most hopeless of his characters still maintains a quiet dignity.
Great little stories and essays and rants by this sometimes screenwriter, novelist, newspaper man, genius.
I'm pulling the plug: this book has been on my "currently reading" shelf for almost 3 years, and I've decided I'm never going to finish it. Nevertheless, I can honestly select "I liked it" as a rating. This collection of Hecht's newspaper sketches of everyday life in interwar Chicago is highly readable and amusing in exactly the sardonic way one would expect from the (co-) author of The Front Page or Hecht's many, many Hollywood screenplays; that's why I picked it up. The problem is that in this ...more
Jan C
Sep 02, 2014 Jan C rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: current and former Chicagoans
Shelves: chi, phone, 2014
I loved this book. Maybe it helps to be from Chicago.

I got it when I was working and would read it on my commute on the el. Very entertaining.

The newspaper man eyeing everybody, asking beaucoup questions.

He committed himself to writing a daily column about the people that he met in the street. Sometimes it seemed like it was a bit of a stretch.
Ann Fisher
What fun! I picked this up free for the Kindle and finally started dipping into it on my 'L' rides. These are newspaper columns he wrote for the Chicago Daily News in the early 1920s. A lively, humorous, and often startlingly familiar look at life in Chicago at the beginning of Prohibition. I was sorry to finish it.
This is a series of 1001 short works written one a day for 1001 days! They are very interesting, funny, thought provoking beautifully written short stories. Of course you do find yourself wishing that some of them would keep going!
True stories from a journalist. "a lens into City life.". This is another book I keep on nightstand, and read a chapter\story at a time.
absolutely fantastic. a must-read for any chicago-lover.
Nice character sketches.
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“Tell it, Fanny. About the crowds, streets, buildings, lights, about the whirligig of loneliness, about the humpty-dumpty clutter of longings. And then explain about the summer parks and the white snow and the moon window in the sky. Throw in a poignantly ironical dissertation on life, on its uncharted aimlessness, and speak like Sherwood Anderson about the desire that stir in the heart. Speak like Remy de Gourmont and Dostoevsky and Stevie Crane, like Schopenhauer and Dreiser and Isaiah; speak like all the great questioners whose tongues have wagged and whose hearts have burned with questions. He will listen bewilderedly and, perhaps, only perhaps, understand for a moment the dumb pathos of your eyes.” 4 likes
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