The Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire

3.3 3
by Ross Miller
     
 

On October 8, 1871, four decades after its founding, Chicago's destiny was rewritten "with a pen of fire." In this imaginative and penetrating study, originally published as American Apocalypse, Ross Miller considers the mythic proportions of the Great Chicago Fire as the city reshaped its own tragedy into an archetype of the modern struggle against adversity.

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Overview

On October 8, 1871, four decades after its founding, Chicago's destiny was rewritten "with a pen of fire." In this imaginative and penetrating study, originally published as American Apocalypse, Ross Miller considers the mythic proportions of the Great Chicago Fire as the city reshaped its own tragedy into an archetype of the modern struggle against adversity.

Miller argues that the mythologizing of emblematic events is a phenomenon first seen on a large scale after the Chicago fire. Amid myriad eyewitness and photographic accounts of the fire, a consideration of what had actually happened was quickly subordinated to a developing narrative that attempted to resolve the city's conflicted identity into a unity. Disaster was recast as opportunity, and a period that began with catastrophic destruction ended in the triumph of the World's Columbian Exposition. Within a generation of the fire, Chicago became home to a radical new architecture, a daring new realistic fiction, literary journalism, and the new scientific study of society.

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Editorial Reviews

Thomas Hine
A very provocative essay on . . . those secular myths by which society understands itself. . . . A very thoughtful work that is particularly valuable in these times.
New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780252069147
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
296
Sales rank:
760,591
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Philip Roth
A solid mix of scholarship and speculation. . . . It's an exemplary modern tale, this careful study of catastrophe and its exploitation.

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The Great Chicago Fire 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
Amazing.....!Excellent......!Just enjoy it.....!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found this book to be more full of the social anthropology of Chicago after the fire. I was more interested in the cause and firefighting efforts of the Chicago Fire Department. The author grossly left these accounts out.