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A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  27 reviews
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally importan ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published October 11th 2007 by BiblioLife (first published 1922)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  173 ratings  ·  27 reviews


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Rebecca
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
John
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
Peter
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Jan C
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Katie
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! ...more
Kathryn
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked 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!
Paul
Nov 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great little stories and essays and rants by this sometimes screenwriter, novelist, newspaper man, genius.
Tina
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A revelation. In the early 1920s, Ben Hecht (author of "The Front Page," among other plays and novels) wrote a daily column for the Chicago Daily News about life in the city; 64 are selected here. He's a marvelous writer. The columns evoke urban (and occasionally suburban) living in a vanished time, but often are also startling contemporary. The flavor of 1920s Chicago is so rich, you feel that you're there. The book has changed the way I look at people on the train and on the street, and even t ...more
Leah
A series of sketches written for the Chicago Daily News beginning in 1921. In the words of Henry Justin Smith's preface:

"Comedies, dialogues, homilies, one-act tragedies, storiettes, sepia panels, word-etchings, satires, tone-poems, fuges, bourrees, — something different every day.... Stories seemingly born out of nothing, and written — to judge by the typing — in ten minutes, but in reality, as a rule, based upon actual incident, developed by a period of soaking in the peculiar chemicals of Be
...more
Andy
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not really a novel so much as a collection of sketches of people from all walks of life and how they get by in The Big City. I enjoyed most of it a great deal, however I have to admit that there's something awfully slight about them. None of the characters' profiles go into any great depth at all and there's nothing terribly enlightening about the stories, either. It's almost like the literary equivalent to television: entertaining, but don't think you'll remember much after reading it. ...more
Ann Fisher
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Greg
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nice character sketches.
Christy
Jul 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer2007
absolutely fantastic. a must-read for any chicago-lover.
Barbara
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. ...more
James Garner
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful window into the Chicago of 90 years ago, and a very early example of relating human interest stories in the newspaper.
robert
Jun 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chicago is my city so I loved all the markers of place scattered throughout this collection of newspaper columns from 1921 and 1922. In "Nirvana" a prostitute Hecht meets at Sheridan and Wilson tells him about picking up a john outside the Edgewater Beach Hotel. (According to Wiki, "The hotel served many famous guests, including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Lena Horne, Tallulah Bankhead, Nat King Cole, and U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Dw ...more
Linda Franklin
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
STUNNING WRITING and woodcut illustrations. I have the original hardcover publication, which was actually printed (not published) by a company of women printers in NYC. Each story is "jazzy" and short and sometimes a bit slangy, and fascinating and modern seeming. Also illustrated with woodcuts along the sides of the pages and with a tailpiece of the main "character" in each very short story. What a book. Can't believe I just found it and just heard of it. Unfortunately the cover of my copy is n ...more
Janis
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compilation of columns Hecht wrote in the 1920s for the Chicago Daily News, these pieces clearly influenced Chicago’s beloved Mike Royko and other writers of the mid-20th century. Hecht's man-on-the-street stories are evocative, sympathetic, and often melancholy. They made me homesick for this greatest of American cities.

...more
Rachel
May 25, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I kept feeling like I was missing something. Many of the stories seemed to jump around and the characters became confusing. Some of the stories were fantastic, but by and large I just felt like I didn’t understand them. It was a good before bed read though.
Jenn Estepp
Some incredibly interesting stuff here. Some rather not. I cannot fathom a regular column like Hecht's ever appearing in a newspaper these days. Made me miss Chicago, for sure. ...more
Sam Lien
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some beautiful prose about Chicago
Jessica (JT)
I liked this at first, but it got repetitive fast. If you're curious, read five or six stories at random and you've basically read the whole book. ...more
Jennifer
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this. The imagery was beautiful.
Mark Bowman
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Early sketches from this great writer when he was working as a journalist in the 1920s. Although not a great novel, like a band's first album, it shows the spark of things to come. Ben Hecht (with his writing partner Charles McCarthy) was possibly the greatest writer of screenplays of all time. ...more
Deb Oestreicher
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of sketches of Chicago characters from the 1920s. I am not sure what I expected, but this was not it. However, I enjoyed reading a few of these a day. I live in Chicago now, so it was interesting to see reference to Chicago places and institutions that are still around as well as those now gone. You get a good taste of the different kinds of characters that populated the city then. There is some distance and irony but also compassion for these folks.
Liedzeit
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Beautiful book. Nice drawings to accomplish unique stories. All of them about 4 pages long. Originally a column in the paper. And many between newspaper story and high art. Just a description of a lake. A policeman cannot think of a story to tell. You do not mean something like... And then a mini story that would suffice for a novel for others. Pandora’s box about book hunters.
Pied Piper
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Dec 24, 2017
Jim Taone
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Mar 11, 2012
Jim
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Apr 17, 2014
Brandon McGuire
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Ben Hecht was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, journalist, and novelist. A journalist in his youth, he went on to write 35 books and some of the most entertaining screenplays and plays in America. He received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some seventy films.

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