On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
The life of Harry S. Truman is one of the greatest of American stories, filled with vivid characters—Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Wallace Truman, George Marshall, Joe McCarthy, and Dean Acheson—and dramatic events. In this riveting biography, acclaimed historian David McCullough not only captures the man—a more complex, informed, and determined man than ever before imagined—but also the turbulent times in which he rose, boldly, to meet unprecedented challenges. The last president to serve as a living link between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, Truman’s story spans the raw world of the Missouri frontier, World War I, the powerful Pendergast machine of Kansas City, the legendary Whistle-Stop Campaign of 1948, and the decisions to drop the atomic bomb, confront Stalin at Potsdam, send troops to Korea, and fire General MacArthur. Drawing on newly discovered archival material and extensive interviews with Truman’s own family, friends, and Washington colleagues, McCullough tells the deeply moving story of the seemingly ordinary “man from Missouri” who was perhaps the most courageous president in our history.
Back in his broken hometown, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Charlie LeDuff searches the ruins of Detroit for clues to his family’s troubled past. Having led us on the way up, Detroit now seems to be leading us on the way down. Once the richest city in America, Detroit is now the nation’s poorest. Once the vanguard of America’s machine age—mass-production, blue-collar jobs, and automobiles—Detroit is now America’s capital for unemployment, illiteracy, dropouts, and foreclosures. With the steel-eyed reportage that has become his trademark, and the righteous indignation only a native son possesses, LeDuff sets out to uncover what destroyed his city. He beats on the doors of union bosses and homeless squatters, powerful businessmen and struggling homeowners and the ordinary people holding the city together by sheer determination. Detroit: An American Autopsy is an unbelievable story of a hard town in a rough time filled with some of the strangest and strongest people our country has to offer.
Red Cloud was the only American Indian in history to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the government to sue for peace on his terms. At the peak of Red Cloud’s powers the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States and the loyalty of thousands of fierce fighters. But the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to the rediscovery of a lost autobiography, and painstaking research by two award-winning authors, the story of the nineteenth century’s most powerful and successful Indian warrior can finally be told.
In The Heart of Everything That Is, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin restore Red Cloud to his rightful place in American history in a sweeping and dramatic narrative based on years of primary research. As they trace the events leading to Red Cloud’s War, they provide intimate portraits of the many lives Red Cloud touched—mountain men such as Jim Bridger; US generals like William Tecumseh Sherman, who were charged with annihilating the Sioux; fearless explorers, such as the dashing John Bozeman; and the memorable warriors whom Red Cloud groomed, like the legendary Crazy Horse. And at the center of the story is Red Cloud, fighting for the very existence of the Indian way of life.
“Unabashed, unbiased, and disturbingly honest, leaving no razor-sharp arrowhead unturned, no rifle trigger unpulled....a compelling and fiery narrative” (USA TODAY), this is the definitive chronicle of the conflict between an expanding white civilization and the Plains Indians who stood in its way.
Bill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century—1951—in the middle of the United States—Des Moines, Iowa—in the middle of the largest generation in American history—the baby boomers. As one of the best and funniest writers alive, he is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24-carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around his house and neighborhood with an old football jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel about his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing awful evildoers (and morons)—in his head—as "The Thunderbolt Kid."
Using this persona as a springboard, Bill Bryson re-creates the life of his family and his native city in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality—a life at once completely familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy. It was, he reminds us, a happy time, when automobiles and televisions and appliances (not to mention nuclear weapons) grew larger and more numerous with each passing year, and DDT, cigarettes, and the fallout from atmospheric testing were considered harmless or even good for you. He brings us into the life of his loving but eccentric family, including affectionate portraits of his father, a gifted sportswriter for the local paper and dedicated practitioner of isometric exercises, and OF his mother, whose job as the home furnishing editor for the same paper left her little time for practicing the domestic arts at home. The many readers of Bill Bryson’s earlier classic, A Walk in the Woods, will greet the reappearance in these pages of the immortal Stephen Katz, seen hijacking literally boxcar loads of beer. He is joined in the Bryson gallery of immortal characters by the demonically clever Willoughby brothers, who apply their scientific skills and can-do attitude to gleefully destructive ends.
Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, and full of his inimitable, pitch-perfect observations, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid is as wondrous a book as Bill Bryson has ever written. It will enchant anyone who has ever been young.
On the night of July 14th, 1966, drifter Richard Benjamin Speck broke into a Chicago dormitory that housed eight student nurses. One by one, Speck raped, strangled, and stabbed them to death in a sadistic sexual frenzy. Miraculously, one victim, Corazon Amurao, survived by hiding under the bed during the long, nightmarish ordeal. By morning Speck had changed the landscape of American crime.
Now, award-winning Chicago journalist Dennis L. Brea and prosecuting attorney William J. Martin reveal the never-before told story of one of the most appalling mass murders in history—from the killer’s twisted upbringing to the lives and deaths of his innocent victims to the massive manhunt and investigation and the trial that held the country spellbound. Meticulously researched with scores of interviews, including that of Speck’s lone survivor, TheCrime of the Century is “the richly detailed and riveting behind-the scenes story of the crime that murdered American innocence and ushered in the era of mass murder” (Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter).
Dodge City, Kansas, is a place of legend. The town that started as a small military site exploded with the coming of the railroad, cattle drives, eager miners, settlers, and various entrepreneurs passing through to populate the expanding West. Before long, Dodge City’s streets were lined with saloons and brothels and its populace was thick with gunmen, horse thieves, and desperadoes of every sort. By the 1870s, Dodge City was known as the most violent and turbulent town in the West.
Enter Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Young and largely self-trained men, the lawmen led the effort that established frontier justice and the rule of law in the American West, and did it in the wickedest place in the United States. When they moved on, Wyatt to Tombstone and Bat to Colorado, a tamed Dodge was left in the hands of Jim Masterson. But before long Wyatt and Bat, each having had a lawman brother killed, returned to that threatened western Kansas town to team up to restore order again in what became known as the Dodge City War before riding off into the sunset.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Clavin's Dodge City tells the true story of their friendship, romances, gunfights, and adventures, along with the remarkable cast of characters they encountered along the way (including Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, and Theodore Roosevelt) that has gone largely untold—lost in the haze of Hollywood films and western fiction, until now.
“A triumph of storytelling as well as a triumph of spirit.”—Alex Kotlowitz, award-winning author of There Are No Children Here
As a child in 1950s segregated Virginia, Gregory Howard Williams grew up believing he was white. But when the family business failed and his parents’ marriage fell apart, Williams discovered that his dark-skinned father, who had been passing as Italian-American, was half black. The family split up, and Greg, his younger brother, and their father moved to Muncie, Indiana, where the young boys learned the truth about their heritage. Overnight, Greg Williams became black.
In this extraordinary and powerful memoir, Williams recounts his remarkable journey along the color line and illuminates the contrasts between the black and white worlds: one of privilege, opportunity and comfort, the other of deprivation, repression, and struggle. He tells of the hostility and prejudice he encountered all too often, from both blacks and whites, and the surprising moments of encouragement and acceptance he found from each.
Life on the Color Line is a uniquely important book. It is a wonderfully inspiring testament of purpose, perseverance, and human triumph.
“Heartbreaking and uplifting… a searing book about race and prejudice in America… brims with insights that only someone who has lived on both sides of the racial divide could gain.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Operation Family Secrets, Frank Calabrese, Jr. reveals for the first time the outfit’s “made” ceremony and describes being put to work alongside his father and uncle in loan sharking, gambling, labor racketeering, and extortion. As members of the outfit, they plotted the slaying of a fellow gangster, committed the bombing murder of a trucking executive, the gangland execution of two mobsters—whose burial in an Indiana cornfield was reenacted in Martin Scorsese’s blockbuster film Casino—and numerous other hits.
The Calabrese Crew’s colossal earnings and extreme ruthlessness made them both a dreaded criminal gang and the object of an intense FBi inquiry. When Frank Jr., his father, and Uncle Nick are convicted on racketeering violations, “Junior” and “Senior” are sent to the same federal penitentiary in Michigan. It's there that Frank Jr. makes the life-changing decision to go straight. But he needs to keep his father behind bars in order to regain control of his life and save his family. So Frank Jr. makes a secret deal with prosecutors, and for six months—unmonitored and unprotected—he wears a wire as his father recounts decades of hideous crimes. Frank Jr.’s cooperation with the FBI for virtually no monetary gain or special privileges helped create the government’s “Operation Family Secrets” campaign against the Chicago outfit, which reopened eighteen unsolved murders, implicated twelve La Cosa Nostra soldiers and two outfit bosses, and became one of the largest organized crime cases in U.S. history.
Operation Family Secrets intimately portrays how organized crime rots a family from the inside out while detailing Frank Jr.’s deadly prison-yard mission, the FBI’s landmark investigation, and the U.S. attorney’s office’s daring prosecution of America’s most dangerous criminal organization.
The first edition of Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, won the Wisconsin Library Association's 2002 Outstanding Book Award.
The notorious cops' code of silence is broken as the author recounts incidents in the West Side projects: shoot-outs, ambushes, and what it feels like to kill a man—just four days out of the Academy.
The stories told are sometimes tragic, sometimes funny, often poignant, and always provide the reader with an on the scene feel for life behind the badge. Domestic violence, murdered spouses, abused children, and philandering CPD brass are just some of the topics addressed, topics that officer Gallo dealt with everyday.
From her work with gangs, narcotics, the gun task force, and acting as a prostitute, Gina Gallo offers a gritty account of the darker side of the city, giving readers an objective side to the cops, crooks, and victims that comprise a the police cops world.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
--Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author of Boys Will Be Boys and The Bad Guys Won
In 1971, a small-town high school baseball team from rural Illinois, playing with hand-me-down uniforms and peace signs on their hats, defied convention and the odds. Led by an English teacher with no coaching experience, the Macon Ironmen emerged from a field of 370 teams to represent the smallest school in Illinois history to make the state final, a distinction that still stands. There the Ironmen would play against a Chicago powerhouse in a dramatic game that would change their lives forever.
In this gripping, cinematic narrative, Chris Ballard tells the story of the team and its coach, Lynn Sweet: a hippie, dreamer, and intellectual who arrived in Macon in 1966, bringing progressive ideas to a town stuck in the Eisenhower era. Beloved by students but not administration, Sweet reluctantly took over the ragtag team, intent on teaching the boys as much about life as baseball. Together they embarked on an improbable postseason run that buoyed a small town in desperate need of something to celebrate.
Engaging and poignant, One Shot at Forever is a testament to the power of high school sports to shape the lives of those who play them, and it reminds us that there are few bonds more sacred than that among a coach, a team, and a town.
"Macon's run at the title reminds us why sports matter and why sportswriting has such great power to inspire. . . . [It's] one hell of a good story, and Ballard has written one hell of a good book." --Jonathan Eig, Chicago Tribune
In this groundbreaking work, William Cronon gives us an environmental perspective on the history of nineteenth-century America. By exploring the ecological and economic changes that made Chicago America's most dynamic city and the Great West its hinterland, Mr. Cronon opens a new window onto our national past. This is the story of city and country becoming ever more tightly bound in a system so powerful that it reshaped the American landscape and transformed American culture. The world that emerged is our own.
Winner of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize
Bergreen shows the seedy and glamorous sides of the age, the rise of Prohibition, the illicit liquor trade, the battlefield that was Chicago. Delving beyond the Capone mythology. Bergreen finds a paradox: a coldblooded killer, thief, pimp, and racketeer who was also a devoted son and father; a self-styled Robin Hood who rose to the top of organized crime. Capone is a masterful portrait of an extraordinary time and of the one man who reigned supreme over it all, Al Capone.
In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than thirty years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom.
Drawing on exhaustive interviews, Dan Barry dives deeply into the lives of the men, recording their memories of suffering, loneliness and fleeting joy, as well as the undying hope they maintained despite their traumatic circumstances. Barry explores how a small Iowa town remained oblivious to the plight of these men, analyzes the many causes for such profound and chronic negligence, and lays out the impact of the men’s dramatic court case, which has spurred advocates—including President Obama—to push for just pay and improved working conditions for people living with disabilities.
A luminous work of social justice, told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is more than just inspired storytelling. It is a clarion call for a vigilance that ensures inclusion and dignity for all.
The Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior—hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.
For thousands of years the pristine Great Lakes were separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the roaring Niagara Falls and from the Mississippi River basin by a “sub-continental divide.” Beginning in the late 1800s, these barriers were circumvented to attract oceangoing freighters from the Atlantic and to allow Chicago’s sewage to float out to the Mississippi. These were engineering marvels in their time—and the changes in Chicago arrested a deadly cycle of waterborne illnesses—but they have had horrendous unforeseen consequences. Egan provides a chilling account of how sea lamprey, zebra and quagga mussels and other invaders have made their way into the lakes, decimating native species and largely destroying the age-old ecosystem. And because the lakes are no longer isolated, the invaders now threaten water intake pipes, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure across the country.
Egan also explores why outbreaks of toxic algae stemming from the overapplication of farm fertilizer have left massive biological “dead zones” that threaten the supply of fresh water. He examines fluctuations in the levels of the lakes caused by manmade climate change and overzealous dredging of shipping channels. And he reports on the chronic threats to siphon off Great Lakes water to slake drier regions of America or to be sold abroad.
In an age when dire problems like the Flint water crisis or the California drought bring ever more attention to the indispensability of safe, clean, easily available water, The Death and the Life of the Great Lakes is a powerful paean to what is arguably our most precious resource, an urgent examination of what threatens it and a convincing call to arms about the relatively simple things we need to do to protect it.
From Resurrection Mary and Al Capone to the Murder Castle of H. H. Holmes and the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln, the spine-tingling sights and sounds of Chicago's yesteryear are still with us . . . and so are its ghosts.
Seeking to find out what we really know about the ghastly past of this famously haunted metropolis, professional ghost hunter and historian Adam Selzer pieces together the truth behind Chicago's ghosts, and brings to light dozens of never-before-told firsthand accounts. Take a historical tour of the famous and not-so-famous haunts around town, from the Alley of Death and Mutilation to Satan's Mile and beyond. Sometimes the real story is far different from the urban legend--and most of the time it's even gorier.
In a time of unregulated madness, nowhere was it madder than in Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. It was the perfect place for a slick, smooth-talking, charismatic lawyer named Leo Koretz to entice hundreds of people to invest as much as $30 million--upwards of $400 million today--in phantom timberland and nonexistent oil wells in Panama. It was an ingenious deceit, one that out-Ponzied Charles Ponzi himself.
In this rip-roaring tale of greed, financial corruption, dirty politics, over-the-top and under-the-radar deceit, illicit sex, and a brilliant and wildly charming con man on the town and then on the lam, Empire of Deception proves that the American dream of easy wealth is truly a timeless commodity.
“Captivating . . . Dean Jobb tells the story of Leo Koretz, a legendary con artist of Madoffian audacity, with terrific energy and narrative brio.” —Gary Krist, author of Empire of Sin
“A brilliantly researched tale of greed, ambition, and our desperate need to believe in magic, it’s history that captures America as it really was--and always will be. A great read.” —Douglas Perry, author of Eliot Ness
“Reads like a Gatsby-Ponzi mashup . . . Kudos to Jobb for unearthing this overlooked story and bringing to life a charming, witty, naughty, iconic American crook.” —Neal Thompson, author of A Curious Man
“The granddaddy of all con men, Leo Koretz gives Jobb the opportunity to exhibit his impressive research and storytelling skills . . . A highly readable, entertaining story.” —Kirkus Reviews
The unimaginable crime of filicide takes on the cast of tragic inevitability in this haunting true tale of violence, greed, revenge, and death. Fusing the narrative power of an award-winning novelist and the detailed research of an experienced investigator, author Darcy O’Brien unfolds the story of Dr. John Dale Cavaness, the southern Illinois physician and surgeon charged with the murder of his son Sean in December 1984. Outraged by the arrest of the skilled medical practitioner who selflessly attended to their needs, the people of Little Egypt, as the natives call their region, rose to his defense.
In the subsequent trial, however, a radically different, disquieting portrait of Dr. Cavaness would emerge. Throughout the three decades that he enjoyed the admiration and respect of his community, Cavaness was privately terrorizing his family, abusing his employees, and making disastrous financial investments as well as carousing, brawling, and womanizing. What was not revealed in the trial, however, was that seven years earlier, in a homicide that had never been officially solved, the body of Cavaness’s firstborn son, Mark, had been found shot dead in the woods of Little Egypt.
As more and more grisly details of the Cavaness case come to stark Midwestern light in O’Brien’s chilling account, so too does the hidden gothic underside of rural America and its heritage of violence and blood.
Detroit: A Biography takes a long, unflinching look at the evolution of one of America’s great cities, and one of the nation’s greatest urban failures. It tells how the city grew to become the heart of American industry and how its utter collapse—from 1.8 million residents in 1950 to 714,000 only six decades later—resulted from a confluence of public policies, private industry decisions, and deep, thick seams of racism. And it raises the question: when we look at modern-day Detroit, are we looking at the ghost of America’s industrial past or its future?
The Lakota Indians counted among their number some of the most famous Native Americans, including Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Their homeland was in the magnificent Black Hills in South Dakota, where they found plentiful game and held religious ceremonies at charged locations like Devil's Tower. Bullied by settlers and the U. S. Army, they refused to relinquish the land without a fight, most famously bringing down Custer at Little Bighorn. In 1873, though, on the brink of starvation, the Lakotas surrendered the Hills.
But the story does not end there. Over the next hundred years, the Lakotas waged a remarkable campaign to recover the Black Hills, this time using the weapons of the law. In The Lakotas and the Black Hills, the latest addition to the Penguin Library of American Indian History, Jeffrey Ostler moves with ease from battlefields to reservations to the Supreme Court, capturing the enduring spiritual strength that bore the Lakotas through the worst times and kept alive the dream of reclaiming their cherished homeland.
“The sting, the speed and marksmanship of the gimcracks his characters fire at each other . . . drips the kind of soulful, energized sarcasm that has long characterized [Letts’] work as an actor and playwright.”–Time Out Chicago
Tracy Letts, who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his epic, caustic Oklahoma family drama August: Osage County, has shifted gears with this entertaining comedy set in a donut shop. A love letter to the city where he has lived for more than twenty years, Letts describes his new work as “an exploration of the Chicago storefront experience.” The play takes place in the north side neighborhood of Uptown, where Arthur Przybyszewski runs the donut shop that has been in his family for sixty years. More content to spend the day smoking weed and reminiscing about his Polish immigrant father, Arthur hires a shop assistant, the young African American Franco Wicks, who has both an unpublished novel and unpaid gambling debt. Superior Donuts premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and recently opened on Broadway—following the same path of success as Letts’ previous work.
Tracy Letts is the author of Killer Joe, Bug, Man from Nebraska (nominated for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize), and August: Osage County (awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama). He is a member of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Remember the excitement of those first years at Jacobs Field? When it seemed the Indians could find a way to win almost any game? When screaming fans rocked the jam-packed stands every night? When a brash young team snapped a forty-year slump and electrified the city?
Those weren’t baseball seasons, they were year-long celebrations.
Step back into the glory days with sportswriter Terry Pluto and broadcaster Tom Hamilton as they share behind-the-scenes stories about a team with all-stars at nearly every position . . . a sparkling new ballpark . . . wild comeback victories . . . a record sellout streak . . . two trips to the World Series . . . and a city crazed with Indians fever.
Revisit baseball’s most fearsome lineup: Albert Belle’s mighty swing and ferocious glare . . . Jim Thome’s moon-shot home runs . . . Omar Vizquel’s poetry-in-motion play at shortstop . . . Kenny Lofton’s exhilarating baserunning and over-the-wall catches . . .
These two Cleveland baseball veterans were there for it all. Now, they combine firsthand experience and in-depth player interviews to tell a richly detailed story that Tribe fans will love.
Holmes’ Own Story is a fascinating look into the mind of one of America’s first serial killers. Herman Webster Mudgett, aka H. H. Holmes, was a horrific serial killer made famous in the popular Erik Larson book, The Devil in the White City. H. H. Holmes built a three story Murder Castle in Chicago in the 19th century with death on his mind. Dr. Holmes lured unsuspecting victims into secret rooms, vaults and gas chambers and made use of a dissection table in his basement. Holmes preyed on travelers that came to the Chicago World’s Fair (World’s Columbian Exposition) in 1893. He advertised rooms for rent and offered employment opportunities in his Murder Castle, often called Holmes Castle and World’s Fair Hotel.
Henry H. Holmes killed his business partner and friend, Benjamin Pitezel, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But he didn’t stop there. The heartless serial killer took three of Benjamin Pitezel’s children on a cross-country trip. Philadelphia Detective Frank P. Geyer followed H. H. Holmes murderous trail into Canada with devastating results. No doubt about it, HH Holmes earned despicable nicknames such as Arch Fiend, Butcher, Modern Bluebeard, Swindler, Moral Degenerate, and more. Holmes was a monster in disguise as a doctor, a perfect ruse to lure victims.
In Holmes’ Own, you will learn the personality and thought process of H. H. Holmes, straight from the mind of the diabolical killer himself. The three-part book includes:
• H. H. Holmes memoir, Holmes’ Own Story (1895), written by the serial killer while he awaited trial
• Moyamensing Prison diary
• H. H. Holmes confession of twenty-seven murders (1896)
• Judgement day with details about Holmes’ death by hanging at Moyamensing Prison
• Unusual concrete burial at historic Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania
• Odd story H. H. Holmes told about his planned reincarnation as a dog
• An interview with Philadelphia Detective Frank P. Geyer about his belief Holmes’ planned to murder his third wife, Georgiana Yoke
• An interview with Mrs. Benjamin Pitezel after Holmes’ execution
• 87 rare historical illustrations including Herman Webster —Mudgett’s birth and death certificates
• Sources, Illustration Credits, and Bibliography
• Clickable Table of Contents, List of Illustrations, and Notes
When 1919 began, the city of Chicago seemed on the verge of transformation. Modernizers had an audacious, expensive plan to turn the city from a brawling, unglamorous place into "the Metropolis of the World." But just as the dream seemed within reach, pandemonium broke loose and the city's highest ambitions were suddenly under attack by the same unbridled energies that had given birth to them in the first place.
It began on a balmy Monday afternoon when a blimp in flames crashed through the roof of a busy downtown bank, incinerating those inside. Within days, a racial incident at a hot, crowded South Side beach spiraled into one of the worst urban riots in American history, followed by a transit strike that paralyzed the city. Then, when it seemed as if things could get no worse, police searching for a six-year-old girl discovered her body in a dark North Side basement.
Meticulously researched and expertly paced, City of Scoundrels captures the tumultuous birth of the modern American city, with all of its light and dark aspects in vivid relief.
It was a time before runaway salaries and designated hitters. Before divisional playoffs and drug suspensions. Before teams measured their well-being by the number of corporate boxes in their ballpark and the cable contract in their pocket. It was the last season of baseball’s most colorful and nostalgic period.
It was surely not a more innocent time. The 1968 Tigers were a team of hell-raisers, the second coming of the Gas House Gang. They brawled on the field and partied hard afterward. They bickered with each other and ignored their manager. They won game after game with improbable rallies on their last at-bat and grabbed the World Championship by coming back from a three games to one deficit to beat the most dominant pitcher in the World Series history in the deciding seventh game.
Their ultimate hero, Mickey Lolich, was a man who threw left-handed, thought “upside down,” and rode motorcycles to the ballpark. Their thirty-game winner, Denny McLain, played the organ in various night spots, placed bets over the clubhouse phone, and incidentally, overpowered the American League. Their prize pinch-hitter, Gates Brown, had done hard time in the Ohio Penitentiary. Their top slugger, Willie Horton, would have rather been boxing. Their centerfielder, Mickey Stanley, a top defensive outfielder, would unselfishly volunteer to play the biggest games of his life at shortstop, so that their great outfielder, Al Kaline, could get into the World Series lineup.
The story of this team, their triumph, and what happened in their lives afterward, is one of the great dramas of baseball history.
The Tigers of ’68 is the uproarious, stirring tale of this team, the last to win a pure pennant (before each league was divided into two divisions and playoffs were added) and World Series. Award-winning journalist George Cantor, who covered the Tigers that year for the Detroit Free Press, revisits the main performers on the team and then weaves their memories and stories (warts and all) into an absorbing narrative that revives all of the delicious—and infamous—moments that made the season unforgettable. Tommy Matchick’s magical ninth-inning home run, Jim Northrup’s record-setting grand slams, Jon Warden’s torrid April, Dick McAuliffe’s charge to the mound, Denny McLain’s gift to Mickey Mantle, the nearly unprecedented comeback in the World Series, and dozens more.
The ’68 Tigers occupy a special place in the history of the city of Detroit. They’ve joined their predecessors of 1935 as an almost mythic unit—more than a baseball team. The belief has passed into Detroit folklore. Many people swear, as Willie Horton says, that they were “put here by God to save the city.” The Tigers of ’68 will help you understand why.
Detroit in 1963 is on top of the world. The city’s leaders are among the most visionary in America: Grandson of the first Ford; Henry Ford II; Motown’s founder Berry Gordy; the Reverend C.L. Franklin and his daughter, the incredible Aretha; Governor George Romney, Mormon and Civil Rights advocate; car salesman Lee Iacocca; Police Commissioner George Edwards; Martin Luther King. The time was full of promise. The auto industry was selling more cars than ever before. Yet the shadows of collapse were evident even then.
“Elegiac and richly detailed” (The New York Times), in Once in a Great City David Maraniss shows that before the devastating riot, before the decades of civic corruption and neglect, and white flight; before people trotted out the grab bag of rust belt infirmities and competition from abroad to explain Detroit’s collapse, one could see the signs of a city’s ruin. Detroit at its peak was threatened by its own design. It was being abandoned by the new world economy and by the transfer of American prosperity to the information and service industries. In 1963, as Maraniss captures it with power and affection, Detroit summed up America’s path to prosperity and jazz that was already past history. “Maraniss has written a book about the fall of Detroit, and done it, ingeniously, by writing about Detroit at its height….An encyclopedic account of Detroit in the early sixties, a kind of hymn to what really was a great city” (The New Yorker).
Follow the Wild West’s most celebrated gang of outlaws as they step inside Northfield’s First National Bank and back out on the streets to square off with heroic citizens who risked their lives to defend justice in Minnesota.
With compelling details that chronicle the two-week chase that followed—the near misses, the fateful mistakes, and the bloody final shootout on the Watonwan River, Shot All to Hell is a galloping true tale of frontier justice from the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse: The Untold Story of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Mark Lee Gardner.
It has been commonly rumored that the feud actually started because of a dispute between the two clans over the ownership of a hog. This, however, is not true. It is true that there had been some trouble in this respect prior to the actual beginning of the feud, but a more or less satisfactory settlement had been made concerning the hog.
In those days there were vast uninhabited tracts of land in this section of West Virginia and Kentucky covered by dense forest which afforded an unsurmountable amount of mast upon which the hogs of various settlers would feast during that particular season of the year.
Each settler would have a certain mark by which his hogs could be recognized from those of his neighbors. These marks would be cut in the ears of the hogs by their owners with the keen-bladed knife of the frontiersman by cutting what was known as the swallow-fork in the left ear; an upper-cut in the right ear, or perhaps an underbit in one ear and some other mark in the other ear and each settler would have a different mark.
When the acorns and other nuts from the native trees in the forest began to drop in the fall of the year, the settlers would drive their hogs into these woodland areas and leave them for weeks and months so that they might grow and fatten on the nuts, and when the time came to round up the hogs each settler would know his hogs by these markings.
The year 1934 marked the lowest point of the Great Depression, when the U.S. went off the gold standard, banks collapsed by the score, and millions of Americans were out of work. Epic baseball feats offered welcome relief from the hardships of daily life. The Gashouse Gang, the brilliant culmination of a dream by its general manager, Branch Rickey, the first to envision a farm system that would acquire and "educate" young players in the art of baseball, was adored by the nation, who saw itself—scruffy, proud, and unbeatable—in the Gang.
Based on original research and told in entertaining narrative style, The Gashouse Gang brings a bygone era and a cast full of vivid personalities to life and unearths a treasure trove of baseball lore that will delight any fan of the great American pastime.
Clarinda, Iowa, population 5,000, sits two hours from anything. There, between the corn fields and hog yards, is a ball field with a bronze bust of a man named Merl Eberly, a baseball whisperer who specialized in second chances and lost causes. The statue was a gift from one of Merl’s original long-shot projects, a skinny kid from the ghetto in Los Angeles who would one day become a beloved Hall-of-Fame shortstop: Ozzie Smith.
The Baseball Whisperer traces the remarkable story of Merl Eberly and his Clarinda A’s baseball team, which he tended over the course of five decades, transforming them from a town team to a collegiate summer league powerhouse. Along with Ozzie Smith, future manager Bud Black, and star player Von Hayes, Merl developed scores of major league players (six of which are currently playing). In the process, Merl taught them to be men, insisting on hard work, integrity, and responsibility.
More than a book about ballplayers who landed in the nation's agricultural heartland, The Baseball Whisperer is the story of a coach who puts character and dedication first, and reminds us of the best, purest form of baseball excellence.
In the 1990s, Detroit’s Big Three automobile companies were riding high. The introduction of the minivan and the SUV had revitalized the industry, and it was widely believed that Detroit had miraculously overcome the threat of foreign imports and regained its ascendant position. As Micheline Maynard makes brilliantly clear in THE END OF DETROIT, however, the traditional American car industry was, in fact, headed for disaster. Maynard argues that by focusing on high-profit trucks and SUVs, the Big Three missed a golden opportunity to win back the American car-buyer. Foreign companies like Toyota and Honda solidified their dominance in family and economy cars, gained market share in high-margin luxury cars, and, in an ironic twist, soon stormed in with their own sophisticatedly engineered and marketed SUVs, pickups and minivans. Detroit, suffering from a “good enough” syndrome and wedded to ineffective marketing gimmicks like rebates and zero-percent financing, failed to give consumers what they really wanted—reliability, the latest technology and good design at a reasonable cost. Drawing on a wide range of interviews with industry leaders, including Toyota’s Fujio Cho, Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn, Chrysler’s Dieter Zetsche, BMW’s Helmut Panke, and GM’s Robert Lutz, as well as car designers, engineers, test drivers and owners, Maynard presents a stark picture of the culture of arrogance and insularity that led American car manufacturers astray. Maynard predicts that, by the end of the decade, one of the American car makers will no longer exist in its present form.
As leader of an unprecedented crime-busting squad, twenty-eight-year-old Eliot Ness won fame for taking on notorious mobster Al Capone. But the Untouchables’ daring raids were only the beginning of Ness’s unlikely story.
This new biography grapples with the charismatic lawman’s complicated, largely forgotten legacy. Perry chronicles Ness’s days in Chicago as well as his spectacular second act in Cleveland, where he achieved his greatest success: purging the profoundly corrupt city and forging new practices that changed police work across the country. He also faced one of his greatest challenges: a mysterious serial killer known as the Torso Murderer. Capturing the first complete portrait of the real Eliot Ness, Perry brings to life an unorthodox man who believed in the integrity of law and the power of American justice.
Using the contested urban center of Detroit as a model, Thompson assesses the role of such upheaval in shaping the future of America's cities. She argues that the glaring persistence of injustice and inequality led directly to explosions of unrest in this period. Thompson finds that unrest as dramatic as that witnessed during Detroit's infamous riot of 1967 by no means doomed the inner city, nor in any way sealed its fate. The politics of liberalism continued to serve as a catalyst for both polarization and radical new possibilities and Detroit remained a contested, and thus politically vibrant, urban center.
Thompson's account of the post-World War II fate of Detroit casts new light on contemporary urban issues, including white flight, police brutality, civic and shop floor rebellion, labor decline, and the dramatic reshaping of the American political order. Throughout, the author tells the stories of real events and individuals, including James Johnson, Jr., who, after years of suffering racial discrimination in Detroit's auto industry, went on trial in 1971 for the shooting deaths of two foremen and another worker at a Chrysler plant.
Bringing the labor movement into the context of the literature of Sixties radicalism, Whose Detroit? integrates the history of the 1960s into the broader political history of the postwar period. Urban, labor, political, and African-American history are blended into Thompson's comprehensive portrayal of Detroit's reaction to pressures felt throughout the nation. With deft attention to the historical background and preoccupations of Detroit's residents, Thompson has written a biography of an entire city at a time of crisis.
Why has corruption flourished in Illinois even as reformers struggle for ethical change?
How do the three regions of the state compete for resources?
How does the legislature work?
When did the state become so blue?
What powers do the governor and other elected officials really have?
How are judges appointed to and removed from the bench?
Why does Illinois have more units of government than any other state?
How did higher education lose ground as a funding priority?
What role did politics play in the current budget deficit?
And how can Illinois move beyond its status as the "most average state in the nation"?
Featuring the most fascinating stories from the early days, when loosely-organized, incredibly secretive gangs terrorized neighborhoods with names like Little Hell, through the mob’s headiest years, when Al Capone and his men pretty well controlled the city, American Mafia: Chicago offers tantalizing glimpses into the era when Chicago was ruled by gangs with their ever-twisting allegiances and tangled webs of relationships.
Most of the buildings are gone now.
But the stories are still there, if you know where to look.
“A major work. . . . Leavitt focuses on three illustrative issues—smallpox, garbage, and milk, representing the larger areas of infectious disease, sanitation, and food control.”—Norman Gevitz, Journal of the American Medical Association
“Leavitt’s research provides additional evidence . . . that improvements in sanitation, living conditions, and diet contributed more to the overall decline in mortality rates than advances in medical practice. . . . A solid contribution to the history of urban reform politics and public health.”—Jo Ann Carrigan, Journal of American History
As she and her husband restore the 1914 Georgian Revival, a stately brick house with no plumbing, no heat, and no electricity, Amy finds a community of Detroiters who, like herself, aren't afraid of a little hard work or things that are a little rough around the edges. Filled with amusing and touching anecdotes about navigating a real-estate market that is rife with scams, finding a contractor who is a lover of C.S. Lewis and willing to quote him liberally, and neighbors who either get teary-eyed at the sight of newcomers or urge Amy and her husband to get out while they can, Amy writes evocatively about the charms and challenges of finding her footing in a city whose future is in question. Detroit Hustle is a memoir that is both a meditation on what it takes to make a house a home, and a love letter to a much-derided city.
It was 1982 when David Harmon, a gentle and well-liked member of the Evangelical Christian community in Olathe, Kansas, was bludgeoned to death while sleeping. The force of the blows crushed his face beyond recognition. Suspicion quickly fell on a pair of exemplary citizens: David's wife, Melinda, and David’s best friend, Mark Mangelsdorf, student body president of the local bible college. But when the long arms of the church came to their defense, no charges were pressed.
Some twenty years later, two Olathe police officers revived the cold case and made startling revelations that reopened old wounds within the Olathe community. They also rocked the two well-heeled towns where Melinda and Mark now lived separate, successful, law-abiding lives. Melinda was a devoted wife and mother of two in suburban Ohio. Mark had become a Harvard MBA, a high-paid corporate mover and respected family man, in Pelham, New York. Then, in 2001, Melinda and Mark both received a knock on the door.
With “a breakneck pace…maintained right up to the final pages” (Kirkus Reviews), A Cold-Blooded Business is “a killer of a story—tight, relentlessly compelling, and superbly reported”(#1 New York Times bestselling author James Kaplan).
With The University of Chicago: A History, John W. Boyer, Dean of the College since 1992, presents a deeply researched and comprehensive history of the university. Boyer has mined the archives, exploring the school’s complex and sometimes controversial past to set myth and hearsay apart from fact. The result is a fascinating narrative of a legendary academic community, one that brings to light the nature of its academic culture and curricula, the experience of its students, its engagement with Chicago’s civic community, and the conditions that have enabled the university to survive and sustain itself through decades of change.
Boyer’s extensive research shows that the University of Chicago’s identity is profoundly interwoven with its history, and that history is unique in the annals of American higher education. After a little-known false start in the mid-nineteenth century, it achieved remarkable early successes, yet in the 1950s it faced a collapse of undergraduate enrollment, which proved fiscally debilitating for decades. Throughout, the university retained its fierce commitment to a distinctive, intense academic culture marked by intellectual merit and free debate, allowing it to rise to international acclaim. Today it maintains a strong obligation to serve the larger community through its connections to alumni, to the city of Chicago, and increasingly to its global community.
Published to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the university, this must-have reference will appeal to alumni and anyone interested in the history of higher education of the United States.
Before air travel overtook trains, nearly every coast-to-coast journey included a stop in Chicago, and this flow of people and commodities made it the crucible for American culture and innovation. In luminous prose, Chicago native Thomas Dyja re-creates the story of the city in its postwar prime and explains its profound impact on modern America—from Chess Records to Playboy, McDonald’s to the University of Chicago. Populated with an incredible cast of characters, including Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Sun Ra, Simone de Beauvoir, Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, Studs Turkel, and Mayor Richard J. Daley, The Third Coast recalls the prominence of the Windy City in all its grandeur.