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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 Civilization at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he directs the Center for the Study of Politics and Society in the Anglophone World. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books and articles on race and politics in urban America, 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 theSouth Side. And this isn’t, as Diamond makes clear, a matter of chance or culture, but of deliberate and long-standing policy decisions. This 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, Temple University