Chicago

Review: Zaloom, Out of the Pits

November 5, 2007
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Review: Zaloom, Out of the Pits

Caitlin Zaloom’s Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London was recently given an interesting review in the November 1 London Review of Books. Writing for the LRB, Donald Mackenzie begins with a description of his own experiences on the trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade in 2000—while they were still bustling with traders, runners, and clerks vying for bids: At the Board of Trade, orders were still carried to the pits on pieces of paper by runners and clerks, and then shouted out by traders or ‘flashed’ to others in the pit using the hand signal language known as ‘arb’—an abbreviation for arbitrage, the exploitation of discrepancies in prices.… But as Mackenzie’s article notes, at the turn of the millennium the digital age was already poised to radically transform the way that modern traders conduct business. Chicago’s open-outcry trading, a way of life stretching back to the grain futures pits of the 19th century, was on the brink of disappearing when I visited the Board of Trade in 1999 and 2000. There were already signs that technology was encroaching: headsets were increasingly used instead of runners to communicate between the pits and the booths . . .

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Press Release: Jacob and Cahan, Chicago under Glass

November 5, 2007
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Press Release: Jacob and Cahan, Chicago under Glass

So long, Chicago,“ read the headline when the Daily News ran its last edition on March 4, 1978. Winner of thirteen Pulitzers, the Chicago Daily News launched the careers of Carl Sandburg, Ben Hecht, and Mike Royko, just to name a few. It was also one of the first dailies to incorporate eye-catching illustrations, and soon thereafter, black-and-white photography. Chicago under Glass: Early Photographs from the Chicago Daily News is the breathtaking collection of photographs from those early years, 1901 to 1930. During those three decades, Chicago and America witnessed the invention of the airplane, the repeal of prohibition, and the Great War. Photographers at the Daily News covered these scenes, and then went beyond, capturing news as it broke in front of them. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Smith, The Plan of Chicago

October 23, 2007
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Press Release: Smith, The Plan of Chicago

Now available in paperback— Arguably the most influential document in the history of American urban planning, Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, coauthored by Edward Bennett and produced in collaboration with the Commercial Club of Chicago, proposed many of the city’s most distinctive features. Carl Smith’s fascinating history reveals the Plan‘s central role in shaping the ways people envision the cityscape and urban life itself and points out ways the Plan continues to influence debates, even a century after its publication, about how to create a vibrant and habitable urban environment. Read the press release. . . .

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Review: Chappell, Chicago’s Urban Nature

October 3, 2007
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Review: Chappell, Chicago’s Urban Nature

Over the last few decades Chicago has become progressively greener with parks, landscaping, and rooftop gardens becoming ubiquitous features of the cityscape. But as columnist Edward Keegan notes in a review for last Saturday’s Chicago Tribune, these are features which have been ignored by those writing on Chicago’s urban habitat, until now. Keegan cites Sally A. Kit Chappell’s new book, Chicago’s Urban Nature: A Guide to the City’s Architecture + Landscape, as an “antidote to the overemphasis on bricks and mortar that have long dominated similar books on Chicago’s built environment.” Keegan’s review continues, “This book should take its place with the ample assortment of guides most Chicago architecture aficionados have on their shelves. As the city becomes greener in the years to come, Chappell’s guide will become ever more necessary to understand Chicago’s development in its entirety.” To find out more, view this video portrait of the numerous new green spaces that have enlivened and rejuvenated our hometown, narrated by the Sally Chappell herself. . . .

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Happy Birthday, Mike Royko

September 19, 2007
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Happy Birthday, Mike Royko

Mike Royko would have been 75 today. Royko was born in Chicago and never left it. He wrote for the Chicago Daily News, then the Sun-Times, and finally for the Tribune. His career should be measured in column inches. He wrote 7,500 columns. You do the math. The Chicago Outfit is going to jail and the Cubs are in a pennant race. Wonders never cease. Hell freezes over. It would be great to get Royko’s take on such bizarre phenomena. Hoist an extra beer for Royko today. Something domestic. Read and re-read. . . .

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Review: Chappell, Chicago’s Urban Nature

September 14, 2007
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Review: Chappell, Chicago’s Urban Nature

“Unlike most guides to the city, Chicago’s Urban Nature: A Guide to the City’s Architecture + Landscape does not include the alley where John Dillinger was shot. Instead, this delightful little book breaks new ground by presenting what author Sally A. Kitt Chappell terms ‘urban nature,’ defined as ‘the place where architecture and landscape not only both present but where each been conceived in response to the other … fusing into a dynamic relationship.’ Her personal response to Chicago’s built environment, and her enthusiasm for the city, informed by her years of highly regarded scholarly research, is infectious, making this a book you can’t put down. “Chappell writes for four different audiences: tourists, Chicagoans, armchair travelers, and architecture landscape and planning professionals. Amazingly this works.… Chicago’s Urban Nature is a beautifully designed book, a tactile and visual pleasure that is small and flexible enough to carry in purse or backpack, or, as Chappell hopes, in the glove compartment for quick reference.”—Barbara Geiger, Landscape Architecture View a video portrait of the numerous new green spaces that have enlivened and rejuvenated our hometown, narrated by the author. . . .

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Review: Pierce, A History of Chicago

August 27, 2007
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Review: Pierce, A History of Chicago

The Chicago Tribune published an article in Sunday’s edition praising the return of a Chicago classic, Bessie Louise Pierce’s A History of Chicago. Though long out of print, all three volumes of Pierce’s landmark story of the birth and evolution of one of America’s greatest cities are now available from the Press in paperback. Staff reporter Patrick T. Reardon writes for the Tribune: Bessie Louise Pierce, born in 1888, lived life her own way. And Chicago is better for that. Never married, she devoted herself to scholarship, first in the field of education as an Iowa high school teacher and professor at the University of Iowa. Then, in midlife, she moved to the University of Chicago where she wrote A History of Chicago, the definitive account of the city’s first years. That magisterial, three-volume history, begun in 1929 and completed in 1957, has been a touchstone ever since for anyone writing about early Chicago. It was also a pioneering work in academia, the first scholarly study of a large American city.… “It’s wonderful these books are back in print,” says Carl Smith, a professor of English and American Studies at Northwestern University and author of three books on Chicago, including . . .

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The South Side as Sociological Specimen

August 6, 2007
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The South Side as Sociological Specimen

In a recent article for the Chicago Tribune staff reporter Ron Grossman delivers a fascinating account of the long legacy of sociological study that has used Chicago’s South Side as its laboratory. Grossman begins his article by mentioning one of the latest additions to this legacy, Mary Pattillo’s Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City. Her book, like those of the many other sociologists who have chosen to study the South Side’s unique black urban communities, focuses on the sharp divides in race, class, and culture that can be found in the area’s neighborhoods. But it also explores a growing phenomena in Chicago’s South Side communities, the black urban middle class. Examining the social impact of the gentrification of neighborhoods that have for years been home to some of the city’s poorest residents, Pattillo’s book continues to break new ground in one of the most often studied urban neighborhoods in America. You can read Grossman’s article online at the Tribune website, or navigate to the press’s site to find out more about Pattillo’s fascinating new book, as well as read an excerpt. . . .

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Mary Pattillo on the future of Chicago’s black urban communties

July 24, 2007
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Mary Pattillo on the future of Chicago’s black urban communties

Mary Pattillo, author of the recently published Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City, penned a fascinating op-ed piece for Sunday’s Chicago Tribune on the rapidly changing face of Chicago’s black urban communities. Pattillo’s article begins: “No more blacks.” That was the forecast of a resident of the Oakland community when asked about the future of her South Side neighborhood. “No more blacks?” I responded, worried in no small part because my research is about black gentrification. “ couple of blacks” would be left, the woman then allowed. “They got money. This simple prediction is rich with meaning. For one thing, it helps establish the players in the widespread upscaling of Chicago: The little man. The middleman. And then, The Man. The prediction also lays out what’s at stake, not just in Oakland and North Kenwood on the South Side, but in various Chicago neighborhoods. In the process of “building, breaking, rebuilding” the City of the Big Shoulders, as Chicago’s poet Carl Sandburg so eloquently put it, who is going to keep the little man from being left behind? Are Chicago’s shoulders big enough to serve, include and celebrate everyone? Pattillo’s article seems to . . .

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Caitlin Zaloom on the CBOT/Merc Merger

July 11, 2007
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Caitlin Zaloom on the CBOT/Merc Merger

Caitlin Zaloom, author of Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London, was featured yesterday on Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight to discuss the merger of the Chicago Board of Trade with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange—a deal that many think is likely to secure Chicago’s place as one of the world’s most important centers for global derivatives trading. In her interview Zaloom goes beyond the numbers to discuss how the merger, and the revolution in the culture of trading it promises, will affect the world’s financial markets and shape everyday life in the new global economy. Listen to the archived audio on the Eight Forty-Eight website. Read an excerpt from Zaloom’s book. . . .

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