Title: City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago
Author: Gary Krist
Genre: Narrative nonfiction
Acquired: From the publisher for review consideration
Long Review: The twelve days of disaster that gave birth to modern Chicago started with a blimp crash. A crew from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company were testing one of their new airships, Wingfoot Express, with a well-publicized flight over downtown Chicago. But just minutes into the flight, the blimp caught on fire, plunging through the glass ceiling of a bank near Grant Park. And that wouldn’t nearly be the end of it. In the next two weeks, the citizens of Chicago would be shaken by a race riot, a transit strike, and a shocking child murder. By the end,
The unbridled energy and ambition that had been fueling Chicago’s transformation turned into a frenzy of violence and destruction that would leave dozens dead, hundreds injured, neighborhoods destroyed, and a city scarred by crime, corruption, and racial and ethnic hatred.
In City of Scoundrels, Gary Krist brings these 12 days to life in vivid detail, writing as effectively about the political decisions that led up to and, in some cases, exacerbated the disasters and the people on the street who had to make their way through Chicago in the midst of the crisis. Krist has a gift for plot, moving the story along quickly without glossing over any of the important (and gory and exciting and tragic) details. And his writing style is clear and accessible, making this an easy book to read. City of Scoundrels is a great narrative history that I couldn’t put down.
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