I know I don’t normally do reviews on or suggest books, but I had to talk about this one because so far– it’s a pretty fascinating read. My father- who has suggested some of the best books that I have ever read to me- told me about a book called, “The Third Coast” by Thomas Dyja.
Now, as I will be leaving the state of Illinois to go back west TOMORROW, reading “The Third Coast” has been an interesting task. Something that Chicagoan’s do remarkably well is boast. No matter how terrible the situation is in Chicago– we will always live in the best city in the world. Thomas Dyja offers some really wonderful insights into the city’s history beginning with the death of Louis Sullivan, whose Beaux Arts signature style defined the city of Chicago in the 19th Century. With some truly remarkable insight that leaves the reader wondering, “Where did Dyja get this information!? Who is ‘The Insider’??” Dyja chronicles all aspects of Chicago through the lens of the arts, politics, art history, etc.
Like many who have written on the city of Chicago before Dyja, he does pin-point the 1955 election of Mayor Richard J. Daley as the catalyst for Chicago’s switch from supporting artists and their crafts to a place where only the affluent matter. Dyja states the city turned on its own strengths. “Democratizing the arts and knowledge was a Faustian bargain: it put them into the marketplace where the market would determine their ‘value.’” (Dyja)
As an ex-Chicagoan, Dyja offers a lot of the kind of insights that only an individual removed from the situation can provide. While much of what Dyja has to say is tragic, it doesn’t take away from the remarkable history of the city of Chicago. I guess I am still to much a part of the city to quit boasting. I have really enjoyed living in Chicago– regardless of the many troubles that have inflicted my neighborhood and many, many others. Chicago is a thriving city comprised of some of the scrappiest people you will ever met. Thank you for it all, Chicago.
Because I knew you…