- Hardcover: 472 pages
- Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226644316
- ISBN-13: 978-0226644318
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,501,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chicago: A Biography 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
My goal is to... tell the story of Chicago through events minor and major that I believe explain its importance to America and the world, says Pacyga, a veteran historian of the Windy City who teaches at Columbia College Chicago. The first permanent settler in a city that would be a magnet for the world's immigrants was probably Jean Baptiste Point de Sable, a fur trader of mixed West African and French descent. From there Pacyga goes on to discuss the economic, political, social and cultural development of the city, from the Erie Canal and the development of the railroads, which were crucial in making the city a thriving port and destination for immigrants, to Chicago's industry boom during the Civil War. The suburbs, the stockyards, Jane Addams's settlement house and public housing projects all receive Pycaga's attention, as does Richard Daley's infamous 20-year reign. Enlivened by archival pictures, this book offers a broad and compressed overview of the Windy City that's generally well written and absorbing and captures most of the highlights, although contemporary Chicago receives short shrift. 145 b&w photos, 7 maps. (Oct.)
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about it already, they will find a comprehensive history that is bound to show them something new about this ever-changing city.”
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Top customer reviews
Dominic A. Pacyga, a Chicago expert, a local, and a college professor has written what, in theory, sounded like it could've been an outstanding book, a history of the city of Chicago, with a particular emphasis on the people and the things that have affected the people, such as labor struggles, housing issues etc.
At times, this was a great book. Pacyga has a knack for putting things into perspective, such as the 1919 Chicago race wars.
Despite the interesting information, however, the author has a heavy-handed writing style and, at times, I felt overwhelmed by facts. This happened on that date at this address. That happened on this date at that address. I've heard him speak on the Chicago documentary from PBS so this surprised me.
I thought things improved as I got further into the book.
One thing really annoyed me. I'm a north side/northern suburbs girl and it really bothered me that this book could have been called The South Side of Chicago: A Biography. There was even quite a bit about the west side. However, you'd barely know that there was a north side with as little attention as he gave to it. (Of course, there really is no east side--you'd be in Lake Michigan, except for a small southeast side.)
In short, this book had its moments but the reader has to go through a lot to get to them. I'd recommend it, with some reservations.
Ed Bradley, Freeport Maine
I read bought this book in hardcover from Amazon, and I'm sure the Kindle remains faithful to the one sitting on my bookshelf.