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Download Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago, by Alex Kotlowitz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (500 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alex Kotlowitz Narrator: Alex Kotlowitz Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2004 ISBN: 9780739311264
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The acclaimed author of There Are No Children Here takes us into the heart of Chicago by introducing us to some of the city’s most interesting, if not always celebrated, people.

Chicago is one of America’s most iconic, historic, and fascinating cities, as well as a major travel destination. For Alex Kotlowitz, an accidental Chicagoan, it is the perfect perch from which to peer into America’s heart. It’s a place, as one historian has said, of “messy vitalities,” a stew of contradictions: coarse yet gentle, idealistic yet restrained, grappling with its promise, alternately sure and unsure of itself. 

Chicago, like America, is a kind of refuge for outsiders. It’s probably why Alex Kotlowitz found comfort there. He’s drawn to people on the outside who are trying to clean up—or at least make sense of—the mess on the inside. Perspective doesn’t come easy if you’re standing in the center. As with There Are No Children HereNever a City So Real is not so much a tour of a place as a chronicle of its soul, its lifeblood. It is a tour of the people of Chicago, who have been the author’s guides into this city’s—and in a broader sense, this country’s—heart.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gwen | 2/12/2014

    " A good quick read. Like several long feature articles about different people and places in Chicagoland. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Noonan | 2/11/2014

    " Super interesting history of Chicago. I learned a lot and it's highly readable, and short! Really a great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb Fenwick | 2/10/2014

    " Nice collection of vignettes of diverse Chicagoans. Great author. Comes around Northwestern from time to time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 2/9/2014

    " A great little book that truly captures the feel of Chicago. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ross | 2/3/2014

    " Profiles and stories about Chicagoan and the city they call home This book really helped me bond to the city while I was living there. Part of the "A Walk in ____" series, I would recommend the series to friends based on the strength of this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melisa Resch | 1/28/2014

    " kotlowitz illuminated many things about chicago history and politics, which i really appreciated, since it is all kinds of confusing for newcomers. and his profiles were funny and touching. however, the book felt uneven to me. or maybe unfocused? such a big subject. and even though his philosophy is that a city is the people in it, how do you choose among the many remarkable people in a city the size of chicago? i think this was the problem here. i found myself wondering why kotlowitz chose the people he did and what relationship they had to each other, other than being chicagoans. a narrower focus or a longer book of more in-depth profiles probably would of solved this. some of the profiles were just getting interesting when they ended, which made me mad. to paraphrase kenneth the page, i don't want to swear, but i am irritated right now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 1/25/2014

    " Alex Kotlowitz talks about eating in Chicago. Seems fitting to me. Actually a really nice book to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 1/16/2014

    " I'm moving to Chicago in July, and I was looking for something more than a guidebook to prepare and psych myself up. "Never a City So Real" is exactly what I was looking for. A collection of intertwining 'short stories' centered on remarkable Chicagoans. A great short read. Glimpses into Chicago's history with the mob, labor unions, immigration and so on. Also features an excellent "neighborhood" map on inside front and back covers. A little cheesy in its worship of the "real" and "authentic" Chicago. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 1/6/2014

    " The different stories in this book in no way hang together, and gave me only small glimpses into life in Chicago, but I enjoyed it enough to finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vida | 1/3/2014

    " There are authors who love the quality and depth of living near or in Chicago as much as I do. This is a story about people. "

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

    " A great collage of what Chicagoans are. I plan to re-read, as the writing is great, and the stories are so specific, but so Chicago. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyssa | 12/10/2013

    " One of the best books about Chicago ever. Written about the people who live here, for the people who live here. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Loren Erdrich | 11/14/2013

    " The chicago you will unfortunately never discover on your own. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adam W | 10/23/2013

    " I thought it was good. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Meredith | 10/11/2013

    " It is rare that I don't finish a book but I just couldn't slog through it. A dated and cliche view of Chicago's neighborhoods. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vvidalz | 10/11/2013

    " Definitely one of my favorite books! A good way to learn about the real lives of Chicagoans from different sides of the block. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott C | 7/21/2013

    " Pretty cool description of the various parts / people of Chicago. I kinda lost interest. Non-fiction isn't my deal. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 3/23/2013

    " Really liked this! I want to go to Manny's on the South Side now and spend more time in Albany Park (did not know anything about AP before I started reading this book. Very interesting history!). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marjie | 12/12/2012

    " A great series of vignettes about various folk who made/make Chicago the city it was and is. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dwayne Ackley | 8/22/2012

    " If you've ever lived in Chicago you will love this book. Kotlowitz shows you the real Chicago (even walks down a block that Nicole and I lived for two years when he's talking about the day workers). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colleen | 8/4/2012

    " makes you proud to live in chicago. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josephus FromPlacitas | 4/20/2012

    " It was disappointing that this was an abridged audio version, I only saw it on the box once I'd checked it out from the library. Kotlowitz was not a bad reader and I would have happily listened to the whole book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 4/17/2012

    " I read this after completing a summer of working "in the field" with kids in the My Chicago program. It was a good snapshot into some key people in certain neighborhoods but I wanted more of a taste of the neighborhood itself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 3/11/2012

    " Every time I read this book my heart aches for that beautiful city I have left behind. Required reading for every Chicagoan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 2/27/2012

    " Alex Kotlowitz loves Chicago. You will too after reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 3/30/2011

    " This was another great book by Alex Kotlowitz. It is much more uplifting than There Are No Children Here, while still real and gritty. I loved all of the individual stories, especially when I could relate to a certain neighborhood or group. Awesome book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shelly | 3/2/2011

    " Read it a few years ago and really enoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 1/7/2011

    " Nice collection of vignettes of diverse Chicagoans. Great author. Comes around Northwestern from time to time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pam | 9/16/2010

    " This is a Crown Journeys book, one in a series of little gems in which great writers share their favorite places. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 6/9/2010

    " Well-chosen set of neighborhoods (including the suburb of Cicero) as a representation of life in Chicago. I'd say it would be a book better suited for folks at least somewhat familiar with the city (as I am), than those who've never been there looking for background. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josephus | 3/6/2010

    " It was disappointing that this was an abridged audio version, I only saw it on the box once I'd checked it out from the library. Kotlowitz was not a bad reader and I would have happily listened to the whole book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 12/15/2009

    " Chicago has a contemporary voice and he is from New York, go figure. Wait...he now lives in Chicago "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 12/3/2009

    " This book was a great snapshot of the city! I am a huge fan of Kotlowitz, so I was really excited to read this book. He did a great job of showing the city through the eyes of those who live here! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 11/11/2009

    " A great collage of what Chicagoans are. I plan to re-read, as the writing is great, and the stories are so specific, but so Chicago. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 9/12/2009

    " The different stories in this book in no way hang together, and gave me only small glimpses into life in Chicago, but I enjoyed it enough to finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 7/28/2009

    " Love Chicago, love Alex Kotlowitz ... can't wait to move! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 5/31/2009

    " I read this after completing a summer of working "in the field" with kids in the My Chicago program. It was a good snapshot into some key people in certain neighborhoods but I wanted more of a taste of the neighborhood itself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hannah | 2/15/2009

    " Interesting look at a few specific neighborhoods in Chicago - none of which I've spent any time in, but still pretty cool. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 2/13/2009

    " I loved this book. A quick read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dwayne | 1/5/2009

    " If you've ever lived in Chicago you will love this book. Kotlowitz shows you the real Chicago (even walks down a block that Nicole and I lived for two years when he's talking about the day workers). "

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