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The King of Skid Row: John Bacich and the Twilight Years of Old Minneapolis Hardcover – April 1, 2016
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"In its final years, Skid Row was avoided by everyone except the police, storefront Bible-thumpers, slumming sociologists, and the occasional entrepreneur such as John Bacich—‘Johnny Rex’ to the drunks, drifters, and down-and-outers he served as publican and hotelier. James Eli Shiffer recalls the life and times of Johnny, Polack Wally, Moon Face Mary Ann, and other late-stage denizens of that dingy corner of Old Minneapolis with insight, wit, and compassion. The King of Skid Row is terrific urban history, beautifully told."—William Swanson, author of Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper and Dial M: The Murder of Carol Thompson
"The King of Skid Row brings to boozy life the alcohol-sodden, corruption-filled era when Minneapolis’ lost Gateway District harbored flop houses, slop joints, cage hotels, brothels, and raunchy speakeasies filled with B-girls and ‘gandy-dancers.’ Exceptionally literate, relentlessly humane, Shiffer peels back the veil from a dark and often violent past that, until now, had been literally paved over and believed forgotten. The King of Skid Row is a deft book that stirs together memoir, mystery, and history with the heartbreaking drama of how a city treats its most despondent and destitute. Moving and fascinating."—Paul Maccabee, author of John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crook’s Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul
"Many interesting stories."—Razorcake
"Shiffer vividly evokes the neighborhood at its violent and drunken peak in this vivid and fascinating account of a bygone era."—City Pages
About the Author
James Eli Shiffer has been a professional journalist for twenty-five years and is currently a columnist and editor at theMinneapolis Star Tribune. In 2010 he partnered with Ewen Media to create Rubbed Out, a multimedia history of the murder of a journalist in Minneapolis in 1945.
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