The Third Coast

When Chicago Built the American Dream

Dyja, Tom

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Third Coast
Much of what defined the nation as it grew into a superpower was produced in Chicago. Before air travel overtook trains, nearly every coast-to coast journey included a stop there, and this flow of people and commodities made it America's central clearinghouse, laboratory, and factory. And even as Chicago led the way in creating mass-market culture, its artists pushed back in their own distinct voices. Chicago native Thomas Dyja re-creates the story of the city in its postwar prime and explains its profound impact on modern America.

Publisher: New York :, The Penguin Press,, 2013.
ISBN: 1594204322
Characteristics: xxxiv, 508 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm


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Jun 21, 2014
  • Jane60201 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Having grown up in Hyde Park during the period covered by this book, I now understand a lot about the city that I was too young to understand then. I loved it.

Oct 25, 2013
  • rsalvino1 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Why is it that everyone who writes about Chicago feels the need to describe their characters with a heavy patina? Not everyone in the city is a criminal,corruptible official, or poet. Not all grown men approach sex as a conquest...well then again Chicago did give birth to that good ole human woodpecker, Hugh Hefner. (Which reminds me of my favorite David Letterman quip ever, "Why isn't the Playboy Building located on Wacker Drive?")

Yet, that's the sense you get from this highly selective view of Chicago VIPs. After reading this book I felt like I had just watched a badly colorized movie on TBS. Or spent too many hours with my head buried in People Magazine.

Also, the author makes the bold claim that Chicago defined the nation during the mid century. While he certainly makes the case that a lot was going on in Chicago at that time, I just didn't think he proved his point that Chicago was the place to be. Important, yes. The center of the universe? Because it had Kookla, Fran, and Ollie? Maybe I am missing something but I don't think so.

Not all that glitters isn't gold though. There are indeed some nice little historical nuggets that Chicago fans will enjoy.


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