The Pig and the Skyscraper: Chicago : a History of Our Future

Front Cover
Verso, 2002 - Social Science - 472 pages
"You expect the city of Al Capone and what you find are pleasant boulevards coursing up and down between the neo-classical buildings of the 1893 Universal Exhibition ... The city center unfolds before you, an architectural miracle that is to twentieth-century urban planning what Venice must have been for the fifteenth century."

Like a cross between Philip Marlowe and Walter Benjamin, Marco d'Eramo stalks the streets of Chicago, leaving no myth unturned. Maintaining a European's detached gaze, he slowly comes to recognize the familiar stink of modernity that blows across the Windy City, the origins of whose greatness (the slaughterhouses, the railroads, the lumber and cereal-crop trades) are by now ancient history, and where what rears its head today is already scheduled for tomorrow's chopping block. Chicago has been the stage for some of modernity's key episodes: the birth of the skyscraper, the rise of urban sociology, the world's first atomic reactor, the hard-nosed monetarism of the Chicago School. Here in this postmodern Babel, where the contradictions of American society are writ large, d'Eramo bears witness to the revolutionary, subversive power of capitalism at its purest.

 

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User Review  - mjgrogan - LibraryThing

An intense journey through the Randolph Street Train Station, the Futures Market, Haymarket, and then onto Indian Castes, Nation of Islam versus Mormonism, "Greek Heroes and Lumpen Capitalists"...that ... Read full review

The Pig and the Skyscraper: Chicago: A History of Our Future

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Despite what the title may suggest, this book is not really about Chicago. Instead, it is a dark portrait of American capitalism and democracy. Readers looking for a fresh perspective on the Windy ... Read full review

Contents

Arrival in Chicagoland
3
The Tracks of Tomorrow
11
The Mathematics of Pork
25
Buying the Future
41
Sky Grazing
53
Houses with Wings
59
Lumber Mines
81
A Streetcar Named Progress
95
At Natures Feast
239
Such Compelling Chaos
255
Part Three
269
The End of Hope
271
Allah on Lake Michigan
293
Where Paradise Once Stood
315
The Color of Cats
327
Greeks Heroes and Lumpen Capitalists
337

Suburban Paradises
111
Faith Can Also Move Banks
127
An Imperial Metropolis
141
Part Two
149
The Mayo Curdles in the Melting Pot
151
Black Flags on the Yards
177
Class Struggle in the Sleeping Car
195
When the Frankfurters Became Dogmeat
211
In the Capital of Hobohemia
221
In the Cogs of the Machine
355
Prague in Illinois
383
Market Missionaries Beseiged in Fort Science
395
Human Tides Again
413
One More Blues and Then
437
Bibliography
445
Index
455
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Originally a physicist, Marco d'Eramo studied sociology with Pierre Bourdieu in Paris. He is a regular contributor to the newspaper Il manifesto and has written several books.

Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa'aloa, Hawaii.

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