City of Scoundrels by Gary Krist

67%

15 Critic Reviews

Krist does not present much evidence that the events really changed Chicago. . .
-St. Louis Today

Synopsis

The masterfully told story of twelve volatile days in the life of Chicago, when an aviation disaster, a race riot, a crippling transit strike, and a sensational child murder transfixed and roiled a city already on the brink of collapse.

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.
 

About Gary Krist

See more books from this Author
Gary Krist has written for the New York Times, Esquire, Salon, the Washington Post Book World, and other publications. He is the author of the acclaimed The White Cascade as well as several works of fiction.
 
Published April 17, 2012 by Broadway Books. 384 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for City of Scoundrels
All: 15 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Excellent
Feb 01 2012

A grim but eager narrative that delivers vivid reading.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Jan 23 2012

Krist serves up a solid, well-informed, and vibrant slice of urban history.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Stephen Lyons on May 05 2012

From the first riveting pages. . .author Gary Krist masterfully sets the reader down into the vortex of this urban maelstrom.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Mark Caro on May 04 2012

Krist shows an admirable ability to interweave so many threads while breathing life into a host of supporting characters. . .

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SF Site

Below average
Reviewed by Steven Silver

Although Krist’s thesis is that the crisis over a twelve day period changed Chicago, he fails to knit the various events into a coherent whole.

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The Daily Beast

Below average
Reviewed by Jimmy So on Apr 23 2012

. . . the book’s concept so brims with promise that Krist’s prose (just a tad flat) and rhythm (every paragraph is just about the same length) ought to be fat with life.

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Chicago Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Kevin Boyle on Apr 14 2012

In the end, though, it seems slightly less than the sum of its parts.

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St. Louis Today

Below average
Reviewed by Tim Bross on Apr 14 2012

Krist does not present much evidence that the events really changed Chicago. . .

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by James Mcmanus on Aug 12 2012

Above all, ''City of Scoundrels'' freshly illuminates how the riots of 1919 were a turning point for African-Americans.

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Newcity Lit

Below average
Reviewed by Paul Durica on May 02 2012

. . . engaging on the surface but hollow at the core.

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Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

Excellent
Reviewed by Brig on May 15 2012

This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the American history.

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Chicago Daily Observer

Excellent
Reviewed by Daniel Kelley on Feb 23 2012

. . .a well researched and entertainingly written book that contains an extensive bibliography.

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Devourer of Books

Good
Reviewed by Jen on Apr 16 2012

Chicagoans in particular should read this book, but anyone who enjoys a good narrative history is likely to be intrigued.

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Rick Librarian

Good
Reviewed by Rick on Apr 23 2012

. . . a quick read for anyone interested in American history.

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Persimmon Frost

Good
Reviewed by Tracy Rowan on Mar 22 2012

Krist’s prose is tight and smooth which makes the social and political analysis easy to read and assimilate.

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Reader Rating for City of Scoundrels
77%

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Chip Hanback 5 Sep 2013

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