Friday, May 3, 2013

You Were Never In Chicago

Halfway through reading the free e-book from the Chicago University Press, I bought the hard cover version so I could hold it in my hand, enjoy the cover, gaze at it on my coffee table, and hand it to family and friends to read, so I could have someone to talk to about this book and this city. I found the historical portrait of Chicago to be very well written and informative, and a great complement to my previous reads, Devil in the White City, Loving Frank, Lost Chicago and Sin in the Second City.

Neil Steinberg's book is a revelation, filled with bittersweet memoir of a city that never stops changing and growing, and is in a sense, unknowable, even to those who have lived here all their lives. As an east-coast transplant to the Chicago suburbs, the city has always fascinated me, from the visually stunning architecture and museums, to the public spaces and art, the lakefront, the people, the politics, the weather - and after decades of exploring I feel I will never know more that a hint of Chicago, a city in constant flux. Thankfully, this book captures a glimpse of what was, and what lies ahead.

Shifting seamlessly from personal memoir to historical and political context to homage to long gone businesses and institutions, You Were Never In Chicago captivated me as I rushed through my first reading, but I plan to revisit many chapters when my hard copy arrives. I have added many destinations to my must-see in the city list, and can't wait to find the next fascinating destination, person or experience in Chicago. This book gets my highest recommendation.  )

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