Jessi's Reviews > Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul

Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
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's review
Feb 17, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: memoirs-and-bios, nonfiction

The captivating story of sisters Ada and Minna Everleigh and their world-famous Everleigh Club, the classiest brothel in Chicago at the turn of the century. Abbott clearly did her homework and does a super job of fleshing out the main characters against the background of the Victorian socio-political climate. As we already know, the crazy preachers won the political game in the end. They managed to blow up a destructive storm of tall tales on "white slavery" to enrage the terrified conservative Victorian public - describing scores of poor helpless women who got trapped into lives of sin and vice against their will.
Actually, the Everleigh sisters were independent, intelligent entreprenuers - pioneers whose club deserved the international acclaim and prestige. They set the standards high for everyone involved in the game. The privacy of high profile clients was respected and the girls were treated very well by the clients and their employers. The "Everleigh Butterflies" were all given a good education, access to medical care, and got paid extremely well. Not to mention the fact that they lived in a cozy mansion surrounded by priceless art, perfume-spurting fountains, champagne and five star gourmet meals every night for dinner. Uh...sign me up? ha.

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