Introduction: Chicago is the third most populated city in the United States of America. Established in eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, this city experienced rapid growth in the Nineteenth Century. Chicago is now an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunication and transport. It is also a popular tourist attraction and is called the Windy City because of the ever-present winds from the Great Lakes.Chicago is also famous for its music, especially the blues, and has given the world many great blues and jazz musicians.
Many books have been written depicting various negative phases in the history of Chicago like racial discrimination, health hazards, crime, prostitution, drug addiction, natural disasters and so on.
Here are a few popular reads:
- Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser: This is the story of Sister Carrie who comes to Chicago to pursue her aspirations. The story is set in the nineteenth century, a time when Chicago experienced major development. It is a tale of temptation, where all the characters succumb.
- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair: A social activist’s journey of investigation into Chicago’s disorganized meatpacking industry sheds light on the utter disregard for health and unscrupulous exploitation of workers who were forced to work in inhuman conditions. This book had such an impact that the United States Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act in the same year.
- Barriers Burnt Away by E P Roe: A historical outlook set in 1872, the book talks about the great fire that took the lives of three hundred people and left almost ten thousand homeless.
- Binding Arbitration by Elizabeth Marx:A novel about single mother Libby Tucker, whose adventure begins in the Windy City’s criminal court,where she fights for her cancer-affected son. An attorney is ready to take this case to the highest level for investigation.
- The Devil In The White City: Murder, Magic and Madness by Erik Larson: A dark and twisty tale,this engrossing story depicts the events that took place at a fair in Chicago in eighteen hundred and ninety-three.
- Sin In The Second City: Madams, Ministers and Playboys by Karen Abbott: Set in the perfumed parlor of Eveleigh Club, the most famous brothel in America, the story illustrates the battle for America’s soul.
- City Of Scoundrels: The Twelve Days of Disaster That Gave Birth To Modern Chicago by Gary Krist: This is a beautifully crafted chronicle of twelve days of life in Chicago, a time when an aviation disaster, a race riot, and a child murder roiled a city on the blink of collapse.
- Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago And The Great West by William Cronon: Cronon gives us an environmental insight intothe history of Chicago during the nineteenth century,exploring the ecological and economic transformation of Chicago, America’s most dynamic city.
- Native Son by Richard Wright: A narrative of a young black boy whosedownfall begins after he has been sent to jail for multiple crimes.
- The Gangs Of Chicago by Herbert Asbury: A look into the underworld of Chicago, unveiling the filth, the greed, and the pompous underworld dons. The book brings to light how this underworld kept its name, fame, and reputation, and recalls the lives of gangsters like Mickey Finn, H H Holmes, and the three car barn bandits.
- The Man With the Golden Arm by NelsonAlgren: This book exposes the underbelly and provocative beauty of Chicago where addiction to drugs was popular on the streets of the city. The story revolves around a young man’s struggle with his addiction to morphine after coming back from war.