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The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (Chicago Visions and Revisions) Paperback – August 15, 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An imaginative, beautifully produced, and visually appealing masterpiece of stirring prose and stunning illustration.... Carl Smith's book is a concise, splendidly accessible, and beautifully constructed introduction to a seminal work of American urban planning and its enduring influence on Chicago and other American cities." - William Bryk, New York Sun "A concise and reader-friendly introduction to the visionary and ambitious plan that helped shape much of the Windy City as we know it today." - Kevin Nance, Chicago Sun-Times "The story of Burnham's plan has been told many times but never in a more appealing or succinct style than in Carl Smith's modest little book.... What sets this book apart from other Burnham histories is Smith's attention to the filthy, miserable, nineteenth-century city that repelled and motivated Burnham, and the extraordinary promotional effort led by the Commercial Club of Chicago that sold his plan to the public.... A clear-eyed assessment of Burnham." - Lois Wille, Chicago Tribune"

About the Author

Carl Smith is the Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and professor of history at Northwestern University. He is the author of Chicago and the American Literary Imagination, 1880–1920, and Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Visions and Revisions
  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (August 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226764729
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226764726
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As an architecture tour guide, I've read "The Plan of Chicago" and know some Chicago history. Smith succinctly summarizes prevailing circumstances so the reader knows the context of the development of The Plan, but he deftly includes colorful and precise detail. The book is under 200 pages, reflecting a distinctive self-restraint by this distinguished scholar at Northwestern University. Moving from background of Chicago history and of Daniel Burnham, Smith summarizes the Plan's development, describes the other players, analyzes the Plan's effects, and brings readers quickly up-to-date with urban planning of today. This excellent narrative, supplemented with photographs not commonly seen, ends with a "bibliographic essay" to guide interested readers in their subsequent investigations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked the book. As someone who recently moved to Chicago, I have a lot to learn about the city's past. This book gives a good overview of Chicago and the part that the Burnham and Bennett Plan played in the formation of the city, up to its present form. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in Chicago, social history, or in urban planning.
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Format: Paperback
This concise, well-researched, well-written book tells the story of the first and most famous City Plan in North America. It covers its historical, urban and organizational contexts, its contents as well as its promotion, implementation and heritage.

While subtle and never overtly critical, the author is no blind admirer of the Burnham Plan and provides a mature and balanced description of events prior and after its publication.

The reader is given reference to a scanned copy of the actual 1909 Plan on [...]. He is free to ponder on how much _ and in a sense, how little _ planning documents have evolved in the past 100 years.

This book is highly recommended to anyone interested in urban planning, especially of course to those familiar with Chicago.
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Format: Paperback
This book focuses as much on Daniel Burnham, the committee responsible for the Chicago Plan and the locations of the meetings in which the plan was developed as the plan itself. Too little text is devoted to the actual specifics and text of the Chicago Plan. I read the book but still feel as though I know very little about the Chicago plan, what is worse, I still don't know a whole lot about Burnham either. You'd probably be better off reading a good biography of Burnham or a copy of the actual Chicago Plan.
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Format: Paperback
A must read for anyone interested in Daniel Burnham or Chicago history and planning. Chicago is a very well-planned city. If you've ever wondered why it seems and is much more organized than other large, metro cities, you will certainly know after reading this book.
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