Very moving. I started out reading in paperback but found that after some years I was still mired in the Introduction. Having recently found OverdriveVery moving. I started out reading in paperback but found that after some years I was still mired in the Introduction. Having recently found Overdrive I discovered my library had it on MP3. Even at switching, I had to check it out twice.
At times very grim as the life of people on the floor of the meatpacking plants must have been. This book helped to get the meatpacking business investigated and changes were made.
While trying to find my correct edition (either MP3 or paperback) I discovered that there is an unexpurgated version with 36 chapters and the ones I had with only 31 chapters. This was originally serialized in the newspaper. And if this one has been toned down the original edition, as read in the papers, must have been quite something. This was graphic enough, at least for me.
I felt badly for Jurgis, not for what happened to him but because he never seemed to learn his lesson. He is continually being taught the same lesson over and over again. It did make me realize just how difficult life is for the fresh immigrant who doesn't speak the language or know how things work in the new land.
This is primarily an expose on Chicago (and probably other major cities) and the various industries connected with the city. In Chicago's case, that included the stock yards and the meatpacking plants, the steel industry, the railroad. These are the jobs open to fresh immigrants. And, of course, there are a couple of other industries open to women, not all of them legal.
I can recall being over by the stockyards in their waning days in the late '60s and could not believe that people could live with the air smelling that way. It was similar for when we would drive past the steel mills in the late '50s. We would have to close the windows because it smelled so bad. I guess we were lucky to live on the other side of town. But the people who live there apparently get used to the smell. Or possibly just don't notice it quite so much.
I had to laugh when an inebriated gent decided to take Jurgis home with him to his mansion on Lake Shore Drive (they are mostly gone now). Jurgis has never seen anything like this and is in total awe. He is offered food he has no idea how to eat, let alone what they are.
In listening to this book I was struck with the socialist speaker and that Jurgis was just the kind of sucker waiting to be hit by this spellbinder.
I think I probably will still read my paperback copy, if only to see whether I would have been struck the same way by reading as I was by listening....more
Paretsky always gets Chicago right. She's been here long enough to do that.
It was good. I finished it after midnight.
Multiple plot lines.
An insurance company selling burial plots to poor Jews in Vienna in the '20s and '30s. And all those years later doing the same thing only to poor African-Americans on the south side of Chicago. And planning not to pay off either time. And the bodies start mounting. Throw in a Chicago politician - of course he wants his handout. Don't they always?
Then there is some guy whose name is (or he thinks it is) Paul Radbuka and Lottie goes into a hissie fit.
And, somehow, Paretsky makes the whole story come together. Doesn't she always?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I enjoyed this walk on the dark side of the history of Chicago.
I find it interesting that most of the area covered by the levee is now a Chicago housI enjoyed this walk on the dark side of the history of Chicago.
I find it interesting that most of the area covered by the levee is now a Chicago housing project which, for whatever reason, was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Only in Chicago.
I had heard about the Levee and the infamous First Ward Balls. Years ago I read a book by Stephen Longstreet, "Chicago, 1860-1919", which borrowed heavily from Theodore Dreiser who had been working on something about Chicago for a long time, other than "Sister Carrie". So I imagine this book borrowed heavily from that book and from Irving Wallace and the Washburn book.
There is borrowing and there is borrowing. I was once reading two books about the settlement of the West. And I'm reading along and all of a sudden I came across something that sounded awful familiar. I got out the other book, they were practically the same. Now I never knew if they were borrowing from each other or if there was a third or fourth party who was just getting the dickens plagiarized out of him. But he must have been dead because I never heard of any plagiarism suits over that.
And here, in the notes and sources section, she indicates that she got original notes from the children of Irving Wallace and Edgar Lee Masters. ...more
Living in Chicago most of my life and I had never heard of H.H. Holmes. I can understand why a lot of people wouldn't talk about him. But to think thaLiving in Chicago most of my life and I had never heard of H.H. Holmes. I can understand why a lot of people wouldn't talk about him. But to think that he kept a residence in Wilmette. And Burnham had a residence in Evanston.
I loved the alternation, going back and forth between Burnham's battles with architects from the East and workers (not sure whether they were unionized yet or not) and Holmes with his enticing hotel catering to women.
One of the most moving passages in the book to me was early on in the book where Larson writes of the young women first coming to the big city, being kind of confused by it all ... and then their family never heard from them again. ...more
It was OK. It might have helped if my book was all written over. And sometimes I did not agree with what the person had written. I suppose it was usedIt was OK. It might have helped if my book was all written over. And sometimes I did not agree with what the person had written. I suppose it was used by someone for some class or something.
This was last spring "One City One Book" selection. And I suppose it made sense. Cisneros was writing about growing up in Chicago. She can't wait to get out of Mango Street and I'm not sure if she ever does grasp (at least within the confines of the book) that Mango Street will always be with her. Maybe she won't always feel so ashamed of it though.
I like the short chapters or vignettes. The book is meant, it seems to me, for a more youthful and ethnic audience. One that needs the hope, maybe, of one day leaving their own Mango Street. And in that spirit it earned an extra star. I am not the intended audience. But even so, it was interesting to look at the other side, so to speak. ...more
John Drummond was a local TV reporter. He covered a lot of the Outfit (Chicago Mob) stories, kind of the oddball story. He was the of the ones coverinJohn Drummond was a local TV reporter. He covered a lot of the Outfit (Chicago Mob) stories, kind of the oddball story. He was the of the ones covering those. And this book is filled with a lot of those great old stories. People ratting out the mob and having to go into the witness protection program. He talks about how one of those ratters helped convict the killer of the three little boys in 1955. The guy had bragged to him about abusing and killing two of them. His brother killed the other. Another great story is Ruth Steinhagen and the shooting of Philadelphia Phillies first baseman “Cowboy” Eddie Waitkus at the Edgewater Beach Hotel (later dramatized in “The Natural”).
One of my favorite stories, though, was one of the last ones. It was how he got his job as a combination anchorman, sportswriter and live commercial, all at the same time for a small market station. He was supposed to be reading copy for an ad for Schlitz beer (“the beer that made Milwaukee famous”) at the same time he was pouring a Schlitz. Whether he got the job or not depended on whether he knew how to pour a beer with just enough head but not too much. No head at all and who wants to buy Schlitz? He got the job.
It was fun to read about the old stories that I grew up seeing being reported on the news....more
I live in Chicago. I thought I would like this book. It turned out to be a bunch of short stories. I didn't enjoy them very much. The only thing I leaI live in Chicago. I thought I would like this book. It turned out to be a bunch of short stories. I didn't enjoy them very much. The only thing I learned was that there are tennis courts at the Farwell Street Beach. ...more
I tried to find out what everybody likes about Elizabeth Berg. It is beyond me. I think it was even set in my home town. But it just too sappy for me.I tried to find out what everybody likes about Elizabeth Berg. It is beyond me. I think it was even set in my home town. But it just too sappy for me. ...more
A shot rings out in the night and the local policeman walking the beat at 2 a.m. comes upon a guy on Sheridan Road in his bathrobe. The only unusual pA shot rings out in the night and the local policeman walking the beat at 2 a.m. comes upon a guy on Sheridan Road in his bathrobe. The only unusual part about this to me is a cop walking the beat in the middle of the night. I don't think they walk beats anymore - just drive around in their cars.
Anyway, the man takes the policeman upstair and gives him a cock and bull story about not wanting to disturb his wife but a shot rang out upstairs. Except they get upstairs and there is no body.
The ace detective is called in. From the description in the book, it would seem as though detective Morgan solves every tough case in Chicago. And, of course, he has to live right by the Cubs ball park. Not sure if it was called Wrigley Field then or just Cubs Park.
Actually, it was a fairly interesting story. Nothing great, mind. But the fact that I could picture where things were taking place helps.
As a native to Chicago and the 'burbs, I was all prepared to find geographical errors. No such thing. So the Thornes mounted the first hurdle.
What I got a kick out of - and what does age the story - is they talking about catching the "motor bus" or taking the "electric train". They question whether the hills in Lincoln Park are man-made or real. I checked Wikipedia and Google and couldn't determine. Of course, since much of Lincoln Park is a former cemetery maybe the hills are just graves that didn't get moved.
Actually, the discussion about cops taking the motor bus is the only part that really didn't ring that true for me. Or else times really have changed. Becuase I have talked to cops and they don't take public transportation generally - if they see a crime taking place on their way to official duty, they have to take care of the crime. And, then are late to their official duty. This is especially true if their duty is at the ball park.
I have to admit, for a native, this book was a lot of fun. ...more
Very interesting. Reminds me how long we were obsessed (all right, maybe obsessed is a little strong) about the disappearance of Helen Vorhees Brach.Very interesting. Reminds me how long we were obsessed (all right, maybe obsessed is a little strong) about the disappearance of Helen Vorhees Brach. And then we learned that it was only the tip of the iceberg that was the horse murders. In the area, everyone knew the Jaynes were bad news but I'm not sure how much everyone knew about the rest of the horse industry. And Kenneth Hansen shows up to play his part.
What was really interesting was to see how the FBI agents found out about the whole story.
And despite Tommy Burns being a totally despicable character who apparently only being able to tell the truth when his life depends on it I liked him. But, then, that's the thing about a con man - they are very likable.
And some of it is pretty disgusting. Why did they do it? Because, like Leopold and Loeb, they could. ...more
Tale of the fire that changed fire laws. Quite horrific. It was a Christmastime show when everything went up in flames. Many children were in the audiTale of the fire that changed fire laws. Quite horrific. It was a Christmastime show when everything went up in flames. Many children were in the audience. Eddie Foy, Sr. helped keep the crowd calm for a while. But eventually it was out of control. The students from (I think) Northwestern which had classes across the alley from the theater helped some people to escape the flames by putting a plank or a ladder across the alley to the theater.
I think this book came out to coincide with the centenary.
By the way, this theater is still a theater. They try to play down the Iroquois, I think, although there might be a plaque to commemmorate it. For a while they had a plaque upstairs from another theater, the Fine Arts, commemmorating those who died. ...more
Max Allan Collins does his homework and knows how to spin a tale.
Most of the books of his that I have read before have been the disaster/celebrity stoMax Allan Collins does his homework and knows how to spin a tale.
Most of the books of his that I have read before have been the disaster/celebrity stories, which I also found very readable. This is the first Nathan Heller I have finished. I was hoping the others would make more sense if I went back to the beginning. Maybe they will now....more
This was a great listen. From Manny's to Edna's to Betty Loren-Maltese ad the disaster that Cicero has always been. Luckily the Bud Billiken Parade weThis was a great listen. From Manny's to Edna's to Betty Loren-Maltese ad the disaster that Cicero has always been. Luckily the Bud Billiken Parade went better in the year of this book than it did this year (there were killings, of course). And plaudits to his saluting Nelson Algren's great book, Chicago: City on the Make - a book I found sitting on my father's shelves a good number of years ago and loved at first sight.
Approaching the city from the South one day, after an architectural association had voted Chicago #1 (they're always doing that), he realized that Chicago is perpetually a city of change, especially architecturally. We are always tearing things down and building new things. Just as long as it never gets boring. Keep changing the skyline.
Highly recommended, but especially to Chicagoans and those who have visited. ...more