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The Great Chicago Fire Paperback – October 12, 2000

1.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A very provocative essay on the subject of what might be termed civic belief, those secular myths by which society understands itself... A very thoughtful work that is particularly valuable in these times." -- Thomas Hine, New York Times Book Review ADVANCE PRAISE "A solid mix of scholarship and speculation. Miller has revealed to me a lot I didn't know about the struggle between civic fantasy and architectural ambition that led to the reinvention of Chicago. It's an exemplary modern tale, this careful study of catastrophe and its exploitation." -- Philip Roth "Ross Miller has written a vivid and important piece of Americana, a fine contribution to our social history. I read with pleasure and profit." -- Irving Howe "[Miller's] analysis of the meaning of the Great Fire, and of the crucial decades of rebuilding, is the kind of social/cultural history that can revive your faith in the future of criticism in America." -- Frank McConnell

From the Back Cover

On October 8, 1871, four decades after its founding, Chicago's destiny was rewritten "with a pen of fire". In this imaginative and penetrating study, Ross Miller considers the mythic proportions of the Great Chicago Fire as the city reshaped its own tragedy into an archetype of the modern struggle against adversity.

Amid myriad eyewitness and photographic accounts of the fire, a consideration of what had actually happened was quickly subordinated to a developing narrative that attempted to resolve the city's conflicted identity into a unity. Disaster was recast as opportunity, and a period that began with catastrophic destruction ended in the triumph of the World's Columbian Exposition. Within a generation of the fire, Chicago became home to a radical new architecture, a daring new realistic fiction, literary journalism, and the new scientific study of society.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; First Paperback edition (October 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252069145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252069147
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,680,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a solid, factual, textbook-style, book on the Chicago fire, this work probably isn't for you. With chapter titles such as "Reluctant Modernism, The Past a Present", "Derrick Time, Architecture, Memory and the Poetics of Ruin" and "Wright's Piano,Imagining the New Chicago", this book deals with the authors opinion of the societal and intellectual effects of the fire. For example, "...Chicagoans... indulged the apocalyptic rhetoric occasioned by the fire and to an extent were even flattered by it,...reluctant modernists who would gladly face the present as long as it was safely anchored in the past." (page 57, paragragh 1) The good point about this book is that it is filled with pre and post fire pictures of Chicago. That's the only reason for the two stars.
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No I wanted the movie not the book
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