Review: Smith, The Plan of Chicago
Last Sunday’s Chicago Tribune featured a prominent review of Carl Smith’s new book The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City. Writing for the Tribune, Lois Wille—a journalist and historian of Chicago—praises Smith’s account of Daniel Burnham’s sweeping plans to remake the city of Chicago. Wille writes:
The story of Burnham’s plan has been told many times before but never in a more appealing or succinct style than in Carl Smith’s modest little book.… What sets this book apart from other Burnham histories is Smith’s attention to the filthy, miserable, 19th century city that repelled and motivated Burnham, and the extraordinary promotional effort led by the Commercial Club of Chicago, that sold his plan to the public.
Delivering a comprehensive examination of the most influential document in the history of urban planning, Smith’s insightful book is an indispensable addition to our understanding of Chicago, Daniel Burnham, and the emergence of the modern city.
Lois Wille is the author of Forever Open, Clear, and Free: The Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront.