Haunted Schools: From Memories to History

The best scholarship conveys more than theory, notes and data. It crafts stories and arguments that give one pause, that interrupt the expected and make you stop, wonder and think. Eve L. Ewing‘s Ghosts in the Schoolyard is that sort of work. It’s an award-winning book that is even better than anticipated. Ewing weaves together…

Rowing Can Be Beautiful

Reading A Most Beautiful Thing is a moving experience. It’s a book about the country’s first All-Black High School rowing team, a group of young men from Manley High School on the West Side of Chicago who made history in the 1990s. It is a first-person account by one of the rowers, Arshay Cooper, and…

Institutionalized Inequity and Chicago Real Estate

Beryl Satter’s Family Properties: How the Struggle Over Race and Real Estate Transformed Chicago and Urban America is a brilliant book. A historian with a personal history with Chicago real estate, Satter’s father, Mark Satter, was a lawyer and landlord in Lawndale, a working west-side neighborhood in Chicago. Mr. Satter died in 1965, short on funds and…

Neighborhoods and the Great American City

Chicago is a big and complicated city. As a newcomer, I read widely to get a better understanding of my new home. The staff at the Unabridged Bookstore, an independent in the Lakeview neighborhood, has organized a section filled with Chicago books, ranging from the coffee table variety to academic monographs. On that shelf with a…