You Were Never In Chicago

Neil Steinberg. Univ. of Chicago, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-226-77205-9
Sixty years ago in a now-famous New Yorker article, A.J. Liebling cast a withering gaze on Chicago calling it the "Second City." One Chicagoan responded to his jabs with a postcard that read, "You were in never in Chicago." Chicago Sun-Times columnist Steinberg, who came to Chicago from Ohio to attend Northwestern University, offers his own response in this sometimes entertaining but often tedious memoir that celebrates the city. Along the way, we meet a network of Chicago denizens, such as Maria Pappas, the Cook County treasurer, who form a web of relationships and interactions, loyalties and grudges, that make the city such a close-knit village but which also contribute to Chicago's reputation for corruption and cronyism. Weaving episodes from his own life and career, Steinberg creates a tapestry of Chicago life. He points out that "Chicago is a big place [where]; the finer details emerge one by one." These details shift across race and class lines, gaining "emotional nuances." In the end, Steinberg observes that everyone in his or her own particular way thinks of "my [Chicago] as the true Chicago." (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/28/2013
Release date: 10/01/2012
Paperback - 247 pages - 978-0-226-10415-7
Open Ebook - 257 pages - 978-0-226-92427-4
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