Cover image for City of big shoulders : a history of Chicago
City of big shoulders : a history of Chicago
Spinney, Robert G. (Robert Guy)
Publication Information:
DeKalb, Ill. : Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xiv, 300 pages : illustrations, 1 map ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F548.3 .S75 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

One wonders how Chicagoans have felt being saddled, since the 1920s, with the sobriquet "hog butcher for the world"Äfrom the first line of Carl Sandburg's ode to the vitality of the second city. For this condensed yet energetic and substantial history of Chicago, Spinney has appropriately chosen the reference from Sandburg's poem's fifth line, to a "city of big shoulders"Äfor so much of the city's story emerges from the interwoven struggles of American-born and immigrant workers. Beginning with the earliest glimmerings of what was to become a major American cityÄChigagou is a Native American word meaning "the wild garlic place"Äthis history moves from the influx of European missionaries, traders and explorers in 1673 to those who populated the preeminent boom town in the mid-19th century to the enormous tide of European immigrants who occupied Chicago in the latter half of that century. Spinney (World War II in Nashville), a former professor of history, has a firm sense of historical narrative as well as a keen eye for entertaining and illuminating detail. He deftly illustrates how differences in assimilation patterns affected city politicsÄthe Poles retained their national identity amid tightly controlled neighborhoods; the Italians came to Chicago to work and then returned to Italy; while the Irish moved into positions of civil power. He also successfully draws upon important historical moments, such as the great fire, the Haymarket massacre, the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the careers of politicians like William "Big Bill" Thompson and Richard Daley, to illustrate the greater themes and struggles in the city's history. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
List of Tablesp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
1. The Early World of Chigagou, 1600-1750p. 5
2. Chigagou Becomes Chicago, 1750-1835p. 13
3. Boom, Bust, and Recovery in Early Chicago, 1835-1850p. 31
4. Chicago Conquers the Midwest, 1850-1890p. 46
5. Life in a City on the Make, 1850-1900p. 70
6. The Fire, the Bomb, and the Fair, 1871-1893p. 99
7. The New Immigration, 1880-1920p. 123
8. Progressivism and Urban Reform, 1890-1915p. 146
9. World War I and the Roaring Twenties, 1915-1929p. 165
10. The Great Depression, World War II, and Suburban Growth, 1929-1955p. 188
11. Richard J. Daley and The City That Works, 1955-1976p. 213
12. The Transitions of the Post-Daley Years, 1976-1997p. 241
Notesp. 269
Bibliographyp. 285
Indexp. 295