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At the dawn of the 20th century, there was no more famous-or notorious-brothel in America than the Everleigh Club in Chicago. Run by two sisters with an all-American talent for self-invention, the club set new standards for opulence as well as harlots' rights. Abbott's scintillating tale of prostitution and scandal, however, is not well-served by this plodding audio rendition. Bean emerges as a narrator with a curious double standard: for the madams, aldermen and other colorful characters who populated the Levee red light district a century ago, she creates unique voices full of dialect, humor and pathos. For the reformers who sought to shut down the whorehouses, though, her vocal creativity falls flat; the same schoolmarmish voice is used for every religious or legal reformer in Chicago. It's a shame that the audio book couldn't utilize the more than three dozen sumptuous photographs and illustrations that grace the print edition, showing the club in all its gaudy Victorian splendor and providing mugs of the Levee's many legendary figures. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 16).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Chicago, the saying goes, ain't ready for reform. It certainly wasn't in 1899, when sisters Ada and Minna "Everleigh" (real name: Simms) opened their brothel. As Abbott's jaunty history relates, their whorehouse was not a tawdry bang barn for johns with a nickel but a glitzy palace of paid pleasure for plutocrats. Ada and Minna's Everleigh Club prospered, protected by payoffs to Chicago's legendary political crooks "Bathhouse" Coughlin and "Hinky Dink" Kenna, but the bordello's brazenness mobilized moralists alarmed by vice, so-called white slavery in particular. An entertaining read, by turns bawdy and sad, as when a courtesan ends up dead, Abbott's account extends beyond local history because the campaign against Ada and Minna had lasting national effects: the closure of urban red-light districts and the passage of the federal Mann Act concerning prostitution. Abbott adroitly evokes the cathouse atmosphere, but it is the rapier-sharp character sketches of the cast that best show off her authorial skills and will keep readers continually bemused as they learn about the lives and times of two madams. Taylor, Gilbert --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Great book, full of fascinating facts about Chicago, and America, in that time period. Held my attention (believe it was the inspiration for the bordello in Boardwalk Empire) well... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Donald W George
3.75 upped to 4 stars. All about the best little whorehouse in Chicago, only without song and dance by Dolly, Burt, and Charles. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sue J
'Sin in the Second City' is an account of a large red light district in Chicago during the early 1900s. It focuses primarily on one house of prostitution run by two sisters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by lazza
Chicago, one of those cities to America with a more then colorful history. The world's fair, bootleggers, the infamous St. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bern
This book on audio is very interesting. It takes you back to the City of Chicago (South Side) right after the Worlds Fair (year 1893) and what happened to the city after that... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rosie Vania
I couldn't put it down! Karen Abbott weaves sparkling prose with thorough historical research to bring her characters to life (again). Read morePublished 3 months ago by David Hollman