Chicago: From Vision to Metropolis

Whet Moser. Reaktion, $22 (208p) ISBN 978-1-78914-000-2
Moser, a veteran journalist and former editor of Chicago magazine, aims to take readers past shallow, greatest-hits perceptions of Chicago in this combination guidebook, cultural history, and paean from a longtime resident. For a city that had to be literally raised above the mud that threatened to engulf it, Chicago has hosted plenty of “starchitects”—Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe among them—as well as musicians, notorious mayors, and its most famous export, Al Capone. Today, the city is still known for its parks and buildings, as well as the elevated train that forms the downtown Loop, its numerous museums, a hot culinary scene, and a perpetual rivalry between its two hometown baseball teams. Moser also turns his careful eye to the city’s history and politics, waxing lyrical about the “conceptually audacious and metaphorically resonant” reversal of the Chicago River, traversing two generations of Mayor Daleys born and raised in the city’s political machine, and addressing race relations in “the most racially segregated of the country’s largest cities.” Despite guidebookesque listings of restaurants, bars, and entertainment, Moser’s stylish prose makes this far more than a guidebook. This is an unusual and entertaining look at a great American city. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2018
Release date: 10/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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