When 1919 began, the city of Chicago seemed on the verge of transformation. Modernizers had an audacious, expensive plan to turn the city from a brawling, unglamorous place into "the Metropolis of the World". But just as the dream seemed within reach, pandemonium broke loose and the city’s highest ambitions were suddenly under attack by the same unbridled energies that had given birth to them in the first place.
It began on a balmy Monday afternoon when a blimp in flames crashed through the roof of a busy downtown bank, incinerating those inside. Within days, a racial incident at a hot, crowded South Side beach spiraled into one of the worst urban riots in American history, followed by a transit strike that paralyzed the city. Then, when it seemed as if things could get no worse, police searching for a six-year-old girl discovered her body in a dark North Side basement.
City of Scoundrels captures the tumultuous birth of the modern American city, with all of its light and dark aspects in vivid relief.
©2012 Gary Krist (P)2012 Random House
"[An] eager narrative that delivers vivid reading." (Kirkus Reviews)
I loved every detailed moment of this fascinating tour de force. There are times that you can feel the heat and wish for just a hint of a breeze off the lake. Some of the characters will make you cringe as with all great cities, Chicago is known for political corruption on a grand scale, but the sleaze might just make you squirm. I am very happy to say there are some good characters too, thank goodness. Get ready for a trip through history and let this wonderful city envelope you in all it's moods.
Krist wrote a gripping prologue but then the narrative crashed to the ground on the first page of the first chapter. Bogged down by detail, it is dry and dull. All the helium leaked out of the story and it never took off again.
If you like Chicago history then this is for you. Otherwise its just names and dull events
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