The Pig And The Skyscraper

Overview

?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 ...

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Overview

“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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“d’Eramo looks to Chicago both as a guide to what the future might be like for European and other cities, but also as a warning about what to avoid.”—Chicago Tribune

“Chicago, America’s megalopolis-as-metaphor, has found its leftward de Toqueville in Marco d’Eramo. His book is as rare as an Indian Head penny and as hard as truth. It is a book that Algren, Dreiser, Altgeld and Darrow would have acclaimed as ‘on the button.’”—Studs Terkel

“Little in the urban scene escapes his attention, and his polemic is a fascinating and wide-ranging contribution to contemporary social thought.”—Choice

“d’Eramo’s demonstration of the transfiguring power of capital is compelling.”—Guardian

“This kaleidoscope of a book, with its ability to surprise at every turn of the page, to excite the reader with a fresh insight, a new way of seeing, is to be strongly recommended.”—Frontline

“d’Eramo’s book examines different institutions that originated in or flourished in Chicago ... rather than narrating a straightforward history. But he does so not just to understand the city or the United States, but also what it means to be ‘modern.’”—In These Times

“A serious-minded and insightful social analysis of Chicago as the penultimate example of the modern metropolis ... A fascinating, in-depth account.”—Bookwatch

“For anyone concerned to gain a full-frontal view of ‘capitalism without a G-string,’ this is compelling reading.”—Socialist Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859844984
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 10/17/2003
  • Pages: 482
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Table of Contents

Foreword v
Part 11
1 Arrival in Chicagoland 3
2 The Tracks of Tomorrow 11
3 The Mathematics of Pork 25
4 Buying the Future 41
5 Sky Grazing 53
6 Houses with Wings 59
7 Lumber Mines 81
8 A Streetcar Named Progress 95
9 Suburban Paradises 111
10 Faith Can Also Move Banks 127
Metacity: An Imperial Metropolis 141
Part 2149
11 The Mayo Curdles in the Melting Pot 151
12 Black Flags on the Yards 177
13 Class Struggle in the Sleeping Car 195
14 When the Frankfurters Became Dogmeat 211
15 In the Capital of Hobohemia 221
16 At Nature's Feast 239
Metacity: Such Compelling Chaos 255
Part 3269
17 Bronzeville: The End of Hope 271
18 Allah on Lake Michigan 293
19 Cabrini-Green: Where Paradise Once Stood 315
20 The Color of Cats 327
21 Greeks Heroes and Lumpen Capitalists 337
22 In the Cogs of the Machine 355
23 Prague in Illinois 383
Metacity: Market Missionaries Beseiged in Fort Science 395
Epilogue: Human Tides Again 413
Postscript: One More Blues, and Then ... 437
Bibliography 445
Index 455
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