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You might think a book about the historical geography of Chicago would be a bit flat. Luckily, when it comes to Irving Cutler's "Chicago: Metropolis of the Mid-Continent," this is not the case. Instead, Cutler gives us a popular survey of Chicago's "physical and human processes and phenomena that make it work." Now in its fourth edition, it offers a detailed look at the city's geography, infrastructure, history of immigration and economy in an attempt to explain how "Chicago's remarkable population growth--greater than that attained by Paris in twenty centuries--was achieved in the last century and a half."
This edition features a new section, "Culture, Education, and Recreation," In addition to an overview of the city's many museums and its long literary tradition, this chapter includes a nice summary of the various architectural styles found around Chicago. Cutler looks not only at famous local architects like Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright but also at the residential architectural styles found around Chicago's Bungalow Belt.
While the book is rather scholarly and detailed, it remains accessible to the general reader. It is lavishly illustrated with a large number of original and historical maps. This is a wonderful overview for anyone interested in the geography and development of Chicago.
— Aaron Max Berkowitz