It Happened in Chicago (It Happened In Series)
by Scotti Cohn is a truly engaging description of the rich history in the Windy City. It can be difficult to capture the essence of a city with a brief series of twenty-seven events, but the author has done careful, extensive research to highlight a few of the most interesting stories. As a lifelong resident of Illinois, I'm very familiar with much of its history, and yet there were several events in this book that were unknown to me.
I loved the style that was used to introduce stories while withholding enough information to make them unfold with surprising twists. They are short enough to make the book an enjoyable, brisk read, while leaving the reader motivated to investigate further. Assuredly, entire volumes have been written on some of these topics. For instance, Devil in the White City delves into great depth about the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. It Happened in Chicago is meant to whet one's appetite about Chicago lore. There are over fifteen pages in the bibliography that will facilitate further understanding.
Perhaps my favorite story is that of Red Grange, the great football player from the University of Illinois. At a time when professional football was considered sleazy, he joined the Chicago Bears in a game against the Chicago Cardinals on a cold November day in 1925, just five days after his last college game. Followed shortly thereafter by a barnstorming tour, the Galloping Ghost was instrumental in lifting the sport to new heights, and probably saving the game from financial ruin. It is the type of observation that may not be known to many readers, but has been captured by the writer in eloquent prose.