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216 × 138 mm
208 pages
100 illustrations, 60 in colour
30 Nov 2018
  • £14.95

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Chicago From Vision to Metropolis Whet Moser

Chicago has been called the ‘most American of cities’ and the ‘great American city’. Not the biggest or the most powerful; neither the richest, prettiest nor best – but the most American. How did it become that? And what does it even mean? At its heart, Chicago is America’s great hub. It began as a trading post, which grew into a market for the east to purchase the goods of the west, sprouting the still-largest rail interchange in America. As people began to trade virtual representations of those goods – futures – the city became a centre of finance and law. And as people studied the city’s growth and its economy, it became a nucleus of intellect, with the University of Chicago’s pioneering sociologists shaping how cities at home and abroad would come to understand themselves. Whet Moser’s book reveals how the city grew into a metropolis over its social, urban, cultural and sometimes scandalous history. He also traces the development of and current changes in its neighbourhoods: Chicago is famous for them, and infamous for the segregation between them. Moser takes readers from the very beginnings of the city as an idea, a vision in the minds of its first explorers, to the global city it has become – and offers a local’s perspective on the best and most interesting aspects of Chicago to visitors today.

‘Whet Moser’s great gift is a knack for condensing vast reams of facts and figures into concise, compulsively readable prose. Equal parts elegance and insight, this book is an invaluable primer on our beloved Chicago – that most contradictory yet American of cities.’ – Dmitry Samarov, author of Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab

‘The best urban writers have the historian’s depth, the playwright’s sense of drama, the poet’s verbal dexterity, and the journalist’s BS-detector: Whet Moser brings all that to bear on these pages. Whether you’re a Chicago lifer, newly arrived, or just visiting, read this book if you want to grasp Chicago.’ – Bill Savage, Northwestern University

‘Along with a concise but richly detailed history of Chicago, Whet Moser has written a fresh portrait of the city today, filled with insights about everything from sociology to hot dogs. Moser is a perceptive guide to his city, with a keen understanding of the reasons why it continues to fascinate.’ – Robert Loerzel, author of Alchemy of Bones: Chicago’s Luetgert Murder Case of 1897

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Whet Moser is deputy editor at Quartz Obsession and a former associate editor at Chicago magazine.