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The Great Chicago Fire Paperback – October 12, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


"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

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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: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,621,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By D. A. WAGNER on March 6, 2001
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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