The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream

The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream

Language: English

Pages: 544

ISBN: 0143125095

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A critically acclaimed history of Chicago at mid-century, featuring many of the incredible personalities that shaped American culture
 
Before air travel overtook trains, nearly every coast-to-coast journey included a stop in Chicago, and this flow of people and commodities made it the crucible for American culture and innovation. In luminous prose, Chicago native Thomas Dyja re-creates the story of the city in its postwar prime and explains its profound impact on modern America—from Chess Records to Playboy, McDonald’s to the University of Chicago. Populated with an incredible cast of characters, including Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Sun Ra, Simone de Beauvoir, Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, Studs Turkel, and Mayor Richard J. Daley, The Third Coast recalls the prominence of the Windy City in all its grandeur.

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professor David Riesman, claimed that societies go through three phases: High Growth Potential, Transitional, and Decline. In the first, most people conform to traditions; in the second, they “acquire early in life an internalized set of goals” that makes them “inner-directed.” In the third phase, which he saw postwar America slipping into, individuals care only about “the expectations and preferences of others.” These people are “other-directed” and only found themselves through the approval of

and the jungle of ivy that overwhelms the entrance to Carson Pirie Scott, the simple dignity of the Barbe, Rothschild, and Adler homes, victims of years of disuse, abuse, and now, as Chicago lurched forward, indiscriminate destruction. A Korean War veteran named Richard Nickel quickly became the heart of the project. A round-faced Polack from Stanislawowo whose father had delivered the Polish Daily Zagoda for thirty-five years, he was about as regular as you could get. After IIT rejected him in

LONELY CROWD “a good contract”: Simone de Beauvoir to Nelson Algren, January 14, 1950, in De Beauvoir, A Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren (New York: New Press, 1997), p. 325. “technical advisor”: Bettina Drew, Nelson Algren: A Life on the Wild Side (New York: Putnam, 1989), p. 213. Garfield had screwed boxer Barney Ross: Ira Berkow, Maxwell Street: Survival in a Bazaar (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1977), p. 345. “Just because a woman”: Algren quoted in Art

office. White rioters turned over cars and trashed the truck, finally dispersing around midnight. The next day 350 policemen fought another mob that lobbed bricks and tried to flip a squad car. Kelly promised the black community that the rioters would be prosecuted. Meanwhile the black families lived for two weeks under guard until they moved out. At first Kelly called Airport Homes a federal matter, but then he released a statement standing behind the CHA’s need-based policy, declaring that

is sorry Mr. Wright left so soon.” The message was clear: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was not that sort of architect; he was not a showman or a scold. He was a burgher like them, eager to do a good job for good pay. He was “regular.” Mies continued, outlining the importance of education and extolling the qualities of wood, stone, and brick, the promise of concrete and steel. At Armour he would “show that technology not only promises power and greatness, but also involves dangers; that good and evil

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