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Chicago Chronicle

How the Windy City built the American Dream

Apr. 19, 2013
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Thomas Dyja
In The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream, Chicago native Thomas Dyja transports readers to a time in the Windy City’s recent past when artists and innovators flourished. Focusing on the years between the Great Depression and 1960, this chronicle of a great American city explores Chicago’s history and culture, as well as the economic and social changes that shaped it into the third most populous metropolis in the United States. Filled with portraits of artists and key public figures including Mayor Richard Daley, Studs Terkel and singer Mahalia Jackson, this insider’s look at 20th century Chicago is engrossing and tantalizingly knowledgeable.

Chicago has undoubtedly made significant contributions to American culture through its actors, writers, musicians and politicians, sealing Chicago as the “third coast”; however, despite the plethora of outstanding entertainers and academics to come out of the city, its past has been marred by racial strife. During the middle of the 20th-century, Chicago, like so many American cities, faced unrest as it struggled with segregation, white flight and the creation of African-American housing projects. During a time of great development, Chicago’s increasing diversity brought with it a sense of impending chaos as racial divisions seeped into virtually every aspect of life in Chicago.

Rich in detail and told with an engaging narrative spin, The Third Coast showcases Chicago and the sharp impact it has had on modern America.

Author Thomas Dyja is a graduate of Columbia University and the author of three novels and two previous works of non-fiction. Dyja will appear at Boswell Book Co. on Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m., and at Books & Company in Oconomowoc on Tuesday, April 23, at 7 p.m.


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