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Chicago by Studs Terkel


by Studs Terkel

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The book is a compilation of paragraphs and photos on people and places of Chicago. Public and private. Perfect. ( )
  SCRH | Jul 24, 2009 |

Studs Terkel (1986)

On City Streets: Chicago, 1964-2004

Gary Stochl

Every Chicagoan knows of the dual Chicago Terkel has chronicled throughout his lifetime—a city of history, progress and beauty but also brutality, corruption, and oppression, the city of the '68 convention, the city that inspired Richard Wright's Native Son. Mere meters away from the sun-drenched liveliness of Lake Shore Drive, downtown Chicago grows quickly gray and drab just a few blocks west of Michigan Avenue, the sun shielded by an army of skyscrapers that creates a cavern of concrete and steal.

After nearly forty years of snapping photos around town, Gary Stochl was discovered when he showed up, unannounced, at the office door of a Columbia College photography professor, a paper bag full of black and white prints in hand. Stochl's work dwells in that darkside of downtown Chicago, observing the people who trudge along its shadowy streets, their heads down and glances averted--some look at the camera but none make eye contact with other people. Stochl sensitively manages to preserve their individuality and humanity while providing a glimpse at their alienation and fear.

The complicated city both celebrated and mourned by Terkel and Stochl is vanishing, its culture, architecture, and life obscured behind the bland, generic face of gentrification. Terkel's prose, as always, drips with love for the city's vanishing history, the roller rinks, the union halls, the gin joints, the neighborhoods, many of which were dead or dying when Chicago was published . . . a few more have died off since. Chicago drips of both the love and hate the 95-year old Terkel has expressed for the city since his seminal work Division Street America back in the 1960s. Chicago is, by Terkel's admission, merely an afterword to Nelson Algren's Chicago: City on the Make. Algren is not merely imitated, he's channeled, and no one both hated and loved Chicago like Nelson Algren.

Chicago's stark photography also leaves a blistering impression, providing both history and commentary. The pictures of photojournalists Arthur Shay, Mark PoKempner, Archie Lieberman, and Steven Deutch, which are plentiful, rival those of Stochl's in terms honesty and sincerity.
  MMoonbeam | Dec 14, 2007 |
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In the tradition of E.B. White's bestselling Here Is New York, Chicago a tribute to the "Second City"--Part history, part memoir, and 100% Studs Terkel--infused with anecdotes, memories, and reflections that celebrate the great city. Chicago was home to the country's first skyscraper (a ten-story building built in 1884) and marks the start of the famed "Route 66." It is also the birthplace of the remote control (Zenith), the car radio (Motorola) and the first major American city to elect a woman (Jane Byrne) and then an African American man (Harold Washington) as mayor. Its literary a.… (more)

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