Heralded as America’s most quintessentially modern city, Chicago has attracted the gaze of journalists, novelists, essayists, and scholars as much as any city in the nation. And, yet, few historians have attempted big-picture narratives of the city’s transformation over the twentieth century. Chicago on the Make traces the evolution of the city’s politics, culture, and economy as it grew from an unruly tangle of rail yards, slaughterhouses, factories, tenement houses, and fiercely defended ethnic neighborhoods into a truly global urban center. Reinterpreting the familiar narrative that Chicago’s autocratic machine politics shaped its institutions and public life, Andrew J. Diamond demonstrates how the grassroots politics of race crippled progressive forces and enabled an alliance of downtown business interests to promote a neoliberal agenda that created the stark inequalities that ravage the city today. Chicago on the Make takes the story into the twenty-first century, chronicling Chicago’s deeply entrenched social and urban problems as the city ascended to the national stage during the Obama years.
Andrew J. Diamond is Professor of American history and civilization at the Université Paris-Sorbonne. He is the author or co-author of numerous articles and books on the history of race, politics, and political culture in the urban United States, including Mean Streets: Chicago Youths and the Everyday Struggle for Empowerment in the Multiracial City, 1908-1969.
“Andrew Diamond has written a smart, clever, broad, wide-ranging, refreshing, and significant book. It movingly tells the history of Chicago, how it has become a tale of two cities from the shimmering and branded opulence of the Loop to the poverty-filled and underserved streets of the South Side. And this isn’t, as Diamond makes clear, a matter of chance or culture, but of deliberate and long-standing policy decisions. This is an honest and truthful book for this difficult moment in history.”—Bryant Simon, author of Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America
“Original and sophisticated, Diamond’s Chicago on the Make offers a fresh take on a city, country, and indeed a concept we thought we knew. We’ve taken of late to using ‘neoliberalism’ to describe any number of entrepreneurial impulses and austerity measures shaping our contemporary political culture. But as Diamond’s probing look at the twentieth-century city so brilliantly instructs, when it comes to market-based approaches and state violence shaping political outcomes, there’s really nothing ‘neo’ about it. Excellent.”—N.D.B. Connolly, author of A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida
“Chicago on the Make is a forcefully wrought and persuasive synthetic account of race, ethnicity, and power in modern Chicago. Diamond brilliantly ties together the histories of machine politics and social movements, of major figures like both Mayor Daleys, and of ordinary Chicagoans—black, white, and Latino. This is the indispensable history of the Windy City, a work of urban history at its best.”—Thomas J. Sugrue, author of Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North
“With the attention to detail and narrative depth that only a historian can bring, Chicago on the Make explains how and why Chicago has become a city of extremes: wealth and poverty, power and resignation. Its grand scope—which stretches across time, from downtown to the neighborhoods, and from grassroots organizing to City Hall—makes it a definitive, must-read account.”—Mary Pattillo, author of Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City
“Few American cities have been as subject to neoliberal transformation as Chicago. Fewer still have seen leaders so adept at absorbing the discontent generated by such policies. But as Andrew Diamond makes clear in this sweeping, highly readable history, the roots of such policies run deep. Anyone interested in understanding how Chicago became the racially and economically stratified metropolis that it is today—or, more ambitiously, how to resist such stratification—should read this book.”—Micah Uetricht, Jacobin magazine, author of Strike for America: Chicago Teachers against Austerity