Smokestacks and Skyscrapers

There are 114 selections from the works of 71 authors in this long-overdue collection of Chicago writing–short stories, novels, memoirs, plays, poetry, and essays. Included are such diverse and important writers as Saul Bellow, Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, Carl Sandburg, Upton Sinclair, Edna Ferber, James T. Farrell, Edgar Lee Masters, David Mamet, Lorraine Hansberry, Richard Wright, and Nelson Algren. Arranged in chronological order, the anthology begins with a selection from the seventeenth-century journals of the explorer Jacques Marquette, who spent a winter camped at the mouth of the Chicago River. Harriet Monroe writes about Poetry magazine’s early office on what is now Wabash Avenue. Vincent Starrett tells about his first newspaper job on the long-defunct Inter-Ocean. In a selection from Willard Motley’s best-seller, Knock on Any Door, the author depicts the poverty of Chicago’s West Side slums, and there is so much more. There is a perceptive introduction and afterword by Starkey and Guzman, both English professors at North Central College. —George Cohen, Booklist