Ernest Hemingway once said of Nelson Algren's writing that "you should not read it if you cannot take a punch." The prose poem, Chicago: City on the Make, filled with language that swings and jabs and stuns, lives up to those words. This 50th anniversary edition is newly annotated with explanations for everything from slang to Chicagoans, famous and obscure, to what the Black Sox scandal was and why it mattered. More accessible than ever, this is, as Studs Terkel says, "the best book about Chicago."
"Algren's Chicago, a kind of American annex to Dante's inferno, is a nether world peopled by rat—faced hustlers and money—loving demons who crawl in the writer's brilliant, sordid, uncompromising and twisted imagination. . . . [This book] searches a city's heart and mind rather than its avenues and public buildings."—New York Times Book Review
"This short, crisp, fighting creed is both a social document and a love poem, a script in which a lover explains his city's recurring ruthlessness and latent power; in which an artist recognizes that these are portents not of death, but of life."—New York Herald Tribune
Nelson Algren (1909-1981) won the National Book Award in 1950 for The Man with the Golden Arm. His other works include Walk on the Wild Side, The Neon Wilderness, and Conversations with Nelson Algren, the last available from the University of Chicago Press. David Schmittgens teaches English at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, Illinois. Bill Savage is a lecturer at Northwestern University and coeditor of the 50th Anniversary Critical Edition of The Man with the Golden Arm.