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Download City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago, by Gary Krist Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gary Krist Narrator: Rob Shapiro Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2012 ISBN: 9780307917720
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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, the city’s highest ambitions 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 yet 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Gary Krist has crafted a wild and appropriately explosive tale about mayhem, murder, corruption, and paranoia…This taut, hour-by-hour account of twelve days that forever changed the city will thrill history buffs and fiction fans alike.”

    Karen Abbott, bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and American Rose

  • (An) eager narrative that delivers vivid reading. Kirkus Reviews
  • The most compelling adventure yarn, full of crashing dirigibles, bloody riots, and classic crooks. Loved it. Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent
  • A lavishly intricate, well-paced account of a great city lashed to the breaking point by a political perfect storm. New York Times
  • “A lavishly intricate, well-paced account of a great city lashed to the breaking point by a political perfect storm.”

    New York Times

  • “Spectacular and vivid…City of Scoundrels hits with the force of Lake Michigan’s winds.”

    Washington Post

  • “A lavishly intricate, well-paced account of a great city lashed to the breaking point by a political perfect storm.”

    New York Times Book Review

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

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sgilbert | 2/18/2014

    " Being from Chicago, this is a part of its history of which I knew absolutely nothing. How fun to learn more about this city and to recognize many of the places mentioned. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dani | 2/14/2014

    " interesting history of the politics of Chicago and how 12 days changed the city. I would recommend this to anyone who would like to learn more about Chicago history following the World Exposition. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Boyd Addlesperger | 2/3/2014

    " A truly frightening tale of chaos enveloping a major American city. An aviation disaster, a transit strike, the murder of a child and a race riot--all within 12 days. Good government....even semi-competent government might have ameliorated some of the effects of this tragic period, but politicians acting only in their own narrow self-interest allowed the city to turn in on itself with disastrous result. The truly frightening realization is that 1919 is not a hair's width away from today in historical terms. It could all happen again. It will happen again. Lax regulations, paid for politicians, overworked law enforcement, demonized public employees and a sad, fatal streak of racism all present themselves in today's America. A fuse waiting for a spark. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Icia | 1/26/2014

    " This book is super dramatic. I love it, it keeps you learning and interested, I personally read it in 3 days. This is one I will definatley keep on my shelf and probabley be able to reread in a month or so. I enjoyed this book very much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 1/24/2014

    " The story starts out so compelling, it is difficult to put down. For me this is especially true because of the years I spent working in Chicago's Loop where The Wingfoot Express had it's journey and ending in 1919. Krist's premise is that this tragedy combined with emerging Chicago politics, all the race riots, and a kidnapping which took place within twelve days "gave birth" to modern Chicago. I'm not sure I agree with this. Well into the book, I found the endless bickering and schemeing between the mayor of Chicago and the governor of Illinois rather tedious. Still, I admired the mayor's ability to take some of Chicago's archtecture to new heights. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 1/20/2014

    " A great book about the series of events in July of 1919 in Chicago that helped shape the city, from an airship disaster to a murder trial to race riots. A real excellent read for anyone interested in history, particularly the history of Chicago. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 12/5/2013

    " fascinating look at the early days of the city of Chicago and the way politics and people shape our world - good on audio "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert Malenius | 11/29/2013

    " Interesting account of the political machine in the early 1900's. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joy | 11/9/2013

    " Interesting book with a lot of surprising Chicago history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eli | 11/3/2013

    " Interesting history of Chicago politics. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Suzanne Bailey | 10/24/2013

    " Learned a bit about The political background of Chicago/Illinois. It wasn't worth the time and effort. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki Sykes | 7/21/2013

    " A rip-roaring good story, exactly what you would expect when redng about Chicago. Full of larger than life characters and an amazing string of events made all the more interesting because it's all true! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wanda | 7/3/2013

    " I was not engaged in this short history. I did not find the writing to be particularly compelling. The best written part concerned the dirigible disaster, otherwise it was pretty tired and thin. Not much more to say on the matter. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joan | 12/22/2012

    " Doesn't live up to it's title. It says it is 12 days of disaster, but doesn't really come across as disasters. The author ties together several events but doesn't pull the book together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 12/7/2012

    " Not nearly as interesting as I thought it would be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Eppenstein | 9/8/2012

    " A very interesting story of a tragedy in Chicago history the most Chicagoans are unaware of. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John Machata | 7/15/2012

    " Some valuable insight into the shaping of Chicago. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Krista | 5/2/2012

    " Good solid non-fiction. Wasn't as riveting a some of the other reviews led me to believe. But now I have a better appreciation for the history of the city of Chicago in the era immediately following WWI. "

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