November 23rd, 2020

Me 2

Chicago's Great Fire

Chicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American CityChicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City by Carl Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As a long-time Chicago-area resident and history buff, when I heard about Carl Smith's book on the Great Fire of Chicago, I was very curious. I'm glad I satisfied my curiosity and bought a copy.

The book is an eminently readable and straightforward account of the fire and the subsequent rebuilding of Chicago. It also provides enough of the history of pre-fire Chicago to bring the non-historian up to speed. The book is lavishly illustrated and addresses a pet peeve of mine, namely maps.

A surprising number of histories don't have maps, and many of the ones that do use reproductions of historical maps or not well-drawn modern ones. This book has several maps, all modern and easily readable with the key locations clearly marked. I found that helpful.

In general, the book is well-researched and well-laid out, providing information clearly and where it makes logical sense. The prose is workmanlike, which means it doesn't get in the way of the story. Overall, a highly entertaining book.

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