The University of Chicago Press, in addition to being the largest university press in the country, is committed to publishing books on the region we call home. This month, a number of our local titles have caught the fancy of our city’s records of note. Here is a round-up of noteworthy notices and reviews:
— The city of Chicago is celebrating the centennial of the Burnham Plan, the 1909 urban-planning masterpiece that molded the city by the lake into the world-class metropolis it remains today. As part of the festivities, the Chicago Public Library selected our own Carl Smith’s The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City for its One Book, One Chicago program. Two weeks ago, the Chicago Reader dedicated a special issue to Burnham’s vision, playing the skeptic amid the boisterous pedestalization of Burham. The paper also included an essay from Bill Savage—who has contributed to a number of projects for the Press, including the new foreword to the 50th anniversary edition of Nelson Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make and the introduction to the new Ben Hecht collection A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago, which Julia Keller praised in the Chicago Tribune earlier this month—in which he debunks the apocryphal maxim “Make no little plans” and suggests that, indeed, when it comes to city planning in the twenty-first century, we should think small.
— The August issue of Chicago magazine features selections from its annual “Best of” survey. The mag gives the Press a lot of love on page 97. First, in the category “Best New Chicago Book,” our own Chicago 1890: The Skyscraper and the Modern City comes in first in its class.
“Skyscrapers are so commonplace today that it is nearly impossible to conjure a times when they didn’t dominate the urban landscape. Yet that is exactly what Joan Merwood-Salisbury does, resurrecting an era when the future of this ‘contentious building type…was far from assured.'”
On the same page, the mag gives a shout out to University of Chicago law professor and Press author Richard Posner, their choice for “Best Public Intellectual,” who “writes books, article, and blog posts the way other people write grocery lists.” In fact, Posner’s next book, due out in November, is a collection of post from the popular Becker-Posner blog. Uncommon Sense gathers the most important and innovative entries from the blog, arranged by topic, along with updates and even reconsiderations when subsequent events have shed new light on a question. Whether it’s Posner making the economic case for the legalization of gay marriage, Gary Becker arguing in favor of the sale of human organs for transplant, or even the pair of scholars vigorously disagreeing about the utility of collective punishment, with reference to Israel’s battles with Hezbollah and Hamas, the writing is always clear, the interplay energetic, and the resulting discussion deeply informed and intellectually substantial.
— And finally, for you weather fans, tomorrow at 11:30, Jack Williams, author of The AMS Weather Book will be appearing in a segment with local weather legend Tom Skilling on the WGN Midday News. Tomorrow night, at 7:00 p.m., Jack will be a guest on Chicago Tonight on WTTW Channel 11.