Chicago By the Book

The Caxton Club has produced a most amazing book, recently published by the University of Chicago Press, entitled Chicago by the Book: 101 Publications That Shaped the Image of Chicago. It is a must possession for a Chicago bibliophile. These publications include both fiction and non-fiction books, magazines and periodicals, and reports and digests. Each publication listed is accompanied by a short essay and at least one visual image from it.
Chicago has many images to the general public, some good; some bad; some ugly. As this book demonstrates, the written word has shaped many of these images. Among the good are publications such as Louis Sullivan’s A System of Architectural Ornament and Carl Condit’s The Chicago School of Architecture that make the case that Chicago has been an innovative leader in architectural design in the world. Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams and Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky allow us to see how Chicago has been a leader in the movement for social change in our nation. Bernard Sahlins’ Days and Nights at the Second City and David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago and The Duck Variations have shown that Chicago has been in the forefront of the transformation of American theater.
Then there is the bad and ugly side of Chicago reflected in the institutional racism exposed in Richard Wright’s novel Native Son and the Chicago Commission on Race Relations report on The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot. Chicago: Gang Wars in Pictures by Hal Andrews has reinforced the image of Chicago as a violent city in the eyes of the world.
Chicago by the Book is now available at your favorite book seller. Do yourself a favor and go out and buy it. You won’t be sorry.