Last week the New York Times Book Review ran a review of three books about Chicago. The review generated an “epic backlash,” and got everyone talking about, well, everything but the books reviewed. We want to change that.
For the first five days of May, we are making Neil Steinberg’s book You Were Never in Chicago available for download—free of charge—exclusively through the University of Chicago Press website at http://bit.ly/freebk. It’s one of our bestsellers; it just won the Society of Midland Authors Award for Best Non-Fiction of 2012; and it has been critically acclaimed—even by the New York Times itself, who in September called it, “A strong case for Second City exceptionalism.”
Why free? Because we are so certain people will fall in love with Steinberg’s distinctive, wry, and unpretentious take on Chicago that we think they’ll read it and want to buy it as a gift for themselves or someone else who loves Chicago. Or who loves any city of the broad-shouldered kind.
Steinberg’s book takes its title from a Chicagoan’s outraged response to a New Yorker’s critique of Chicago—A. J. Liebling’s 1952 three-part essay in the New Yorker, in which he dubbed Chicago the “Second City.” . . .
Read more »
Rodney F. Powell, our editor for film and cinema studies, remembers Roger Ebert:
Alas, Roger Ebert has passed, too soon at 70. The University of Chicago Press has been privileged to publish three of his books—Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert, Scorsese by Ebert, and The Great Movies III. I worked on all three, and Ebert’s professionalism and good humor were always evident. It was also a pleasure to note his passionate advocacy of the printed word—as a voracious reader, as well as an enthusiastic film-lover.
Ebert’s celebrity status tended to obscure the fact that was hidden in plain sight throughout his career—that he was, first and foremost, an excellent writer. His ability to recognize the essential in films was matched by his ability to write clearly, concisely, and evocatively about those essential qualities, with a welcoming, unforced ease. He brought those same qualities from his daily reviews to the longer and more reflective essays he wrote for his Great Movies series. And, at his best, there was something more. Like other lasting critics, he could make his readers understand the moral qualities of the works he valued most by revealing how . . .
Read more »
In Cop Knowledge: Police Power and Twentieth-Century America, Christopher P. Wilson writes about narratives of police power in mass culture—from crime fiction and film to the denizens of contemporary political discourse who make use of the squad room, the beat, and the badge. His conclusion? That the stories we tell about police power are intimately linked to the course and outcome of modern liberalism, including a current resurgence of neoconservatism.
In January 2003, Slavoj Žižek penned the article “Gerhard Schroeder’s Minority Report and Its Consequences,” which explored themes from Steven Spielberg’s adaptation (2002) of the Philip K. Dick short story—in which criminals are arrested before they can commit their crimes, thanks to the efforts of a specialized police department, working under the government’s protective wing. For Žižek (and also for Spielberg, who went on the record), the police state evoked by the film was clearly transposed to U.S. international relations post-9/11, where the Bush doctrine suggested with a heavy hand that American military might should remain “beyond challenge” in the foreseeable future. Žižek goes on in the piece to point out the election of Gerhard Schroeder—the German Social . . .
Read more »
We choose our aphorisms wisely. George Santayana cautioned us against our doom in repeating the past and we pushed it to the point of cliché. Let’s incant with Karl Kraus, instead.
“The ugliness of our time has retroactive force.”
This coming weekend brings the 2012 North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) twenty-fifth anniversary summit to Chicago, exactly almost a half-century after we hosted the 1968 Democratic National Convention. We’ve traded Daleys for Rahm; our police force is run by a former football player instead of a former army provost-marshall; and the odds of inadvertently thwacking Dan Rather in the stomach have been significantly reduced by his retirement from network television—
According to NATO’s website, the organization has a threefold focus for their meeting:
the Alliance’s commitment to Afghanistan through transition and beyond; ensuring the Alliance has the capabilities it needs to defend its population and territory and to deal with the challenges of the 21st century; and strengthening NATO’s network of partners across the globe.
According to the Nation, Occupy Chicago’s social network and media feeds, and Timeout Chicago, those protestors native to Chicago and in town for anti-NATO demonstrations have prepared . . .
Read more »