The Tummy Trilogy
Trillin was raised in Kansas City before joining The New Yorker staff. He became famous for writing humorous articles about food, starting with an article about Kansas City cuisine that began with the claim that the best four or five restaurants in the world were in Kansas City. This book is great because it tells you where to find the best bar-be-cue, hamburgers, etc., all over the country, and keeps you laughing.
The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri
A fascinating, little known part of Kansas City history, a chapter in the life of Joseph Smith, a major part of the history of Independence, to which Jesus will return at the end of time.
The Mafia and the Machine: The Story of the Kansas City Mob
A well-written account of the evolution of the mob from its start in the “north end” during the Pendergast era to its hey-day after World War II and its decline in the 1970s.
The Kansas City Monarchs: Champions of Black Baseball
An important story of the black community here is baseball. The Monarchs were one of the best black baseball teams nationally, famous for Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige.
PBS Documentary- Ken Burns' America: Thomas Hart Benton
Called "the best damned painter in America" by fellow Missourian Harry Truman, Thomas Hart Benton was known for his colorful murals of everyday American life in the 1930s. This program from director Ken Burns tells the bittersweet story of the artist's life, works and ideals. 86 min.
Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock
The drip paintings of Jackson Pollock, trailblazing Abstract Expressionist, appear to be the polar opposite of Thomas Hart Benton’s highly figurative Americana. Yet the two men had a close and highly charged relationship dating from Pollock’s days as a student under Benton. In an epic story that ranges from the cafés and salons of Gertrude Stein’s Paris to the highways of the American West, Henry Adams, acclaimed author of Eakins Revealed, unfolds a poignant personal drama that provides new insights into two of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.
The Plaza: First and Always
Well written history, beautifully illustrated.
Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop-A History
The only scholarly study of Kansas City jazz by the man who plays blues recordings for Kansas Citians on Friday and Saturday evenings on public radio.
A scholarly and well-written biography of Kansas City’s most important politician.
Nelly-Don: A Stitch in Time
Kansas City was once an important center of the garment industry. This is the story of the most famous of the garment makers, Nell Donnelly, with lots of illustrations. The book started out as a video project by her nephew. If you are interested in women’s clothes, it is a joy.
Kansas City: An American Story
The best single introduction to Kansas City history, with lots of great illustration.