Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org
, a website that supports local bookstores.
Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone
The public called him Scarface; the FBI called him Public Enemy Number One; his associates called him Snorky. But Capone is the name most remember. And John Kobler’s Capone is the definitive biography of this most brutal and flamboyant of the underground kings—an intimate and dramatic book that presents a complete view of Al Capone and his gaudy era. Here is Capone’s story: his violent childhood in Brooklyn, his lieutenancy to Johnny Torrio, his rise in the ranks of the underworld, the notorious St. Valentine Massacre, his eventual control of the entire city of Chicago, and his decline during his imprisonment in Alcatraz. Capone was the ultimate gangster, and Capone is the ultimate in gangster biographies—a classic in the literature of crime.
The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History
An Intimate Biography of the Heroic Creek that Chicago Made
When French explorers Jolliet and Marquette used the Chicago portage to access the Mississippi River system, the Chicago River was but a humble, even sluggish, stream in the right place at the right time. That's the story of the making of Chicago. This is the other story--the story of the making and perpetual re-making of a river by everything from pre-glacial forces to the interventions of an emerging and mighty city.
Chicago Blues: The City & the Music
Chicago has always had a reputation as a ”wide open town” with a high tolerance for gangsters, illegal liquor, and crooked politicians. It has also been the home for countless black musicians and the birthplace of a distinctly urban blues—more sophisticated, cynical, and street-smart than the anguished songs of the Mississippi delta—a music called the Chicago blues. This is the history of that music and the dozens of black artists who congregated on the South and Near West Sides. Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Tampa Red, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Otis Rush, Sonny Boy Williamson, Junior Wells, Eddie Taylor—all of these giants played throughout the city and created a musical style that had imitators and influence all over the world.
Death at the Fair
The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition provides a vibrant backdrop for this exciting new mystery. Emily Cabot is one of the first women graduate students at the University of Chicago, eager to prove herself in the new field of sociology. While she is busy exploring the Exposition with her family and friends, her colleague, Dr. Stephen Chapman, is accused of murder. Emily sets out to search for the truth behind the crime, but is thwarted by the thieves, corrupt politicians, and gamblers who are ever-present in Chicago. A lynching that occurred in the dead man's past leads Emily to seek the assistance of the black activist Ida B. Wells. Rich with historical details that bring turn-of-the-century Chicago to life, this novel will appeal equally to history buffs and mystery fans.
Return to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago
This is an uncensored neighborhood-by-neighborhood map to the back alleys and boulevards of Chicago where some of the most infamous events of the city's criminal past occurred. Capone, Dillinger, and other organized crime figures have left an indelible imprint on the Windy City.
Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago
This is the story of the late Richard J. Daley, politician and self-promoter extraordinaire, from his inauspicious youth on Chicago’s South Side through his rapid climb to the seat of power as mayor and boss of the Democratic Party machine. A bare-all account of Daley’s cardinal sins as well as his milestone achievements, this scathing work by Chicago journalist Mike Royko brings to life the most powerful political figure of his time: his laissez-faire policy toward corruption, his unique brand of public relations, and the widespread influence that earned him the epithet of “king maker.” The politician, the machine, the city—Royko reveals all with witty insight and unwavering honesty, in this incredible portrait of the last of the backroom Caesars. This new edition includes an Introduction in which the author reflects on Daley’s death and the future of Chicago.
A Farewell to Arms
Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield-weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto and the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion, this gripping, semi-autobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.
Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. This edition collects all of the alternative endings together for the first time, along with early drafts of other essential passages, offering new insight into Hemingway's craft and creative process and the evolution of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Featuring Hemingway's own 1948 introduction to an illustrated reissue of the novel, a personal foreword by the author's son, Patrick Hemingway, and a new introduction by the author's grandson, Sean Hemingway, this edition of A Farewell to Arms is truly a celebration.
The City of Big Shoulders has always been our most quintessentially American—and world-class—architectural metropolis. In the wake of the Great Fire of 1871, a great building boom—still the largest in the history of the nation—introduced the first modern skyscrapers to the Chicago skyline and began what would become a legacy of diverse, influential, and iconoclastic contributions to the city’s built environment. Though this trend continued well into the twentieth century, sour city finances and unnecessary acts of demolishment left many previous cultural attractions abandoned and then destroyed.
Lost Chicago explores the architectural and cultural history of this great American city, a city whose architectural heritage was recklessly squandered during the second half of the twentieth century. David Garrard Lowe’s crisp, lively prose and over 270 rare photographs and prints, illuminate the decades when Gustavus Swift and Philip D. Armour ruled the greatest stockyards in the world; when industrialists and entrepreneurs such as Cyrus McCormick, Potter Palmer, George Pullman, and Marshall Field made Prairie Avenue and State Street the rivals of New York City’s Fifth Avenue; and when Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, and Frank Lloyd Wright were designing buildings of incomparable excellence. Here are the mansions and grand hotels, the office buildings that met technical perfection (including the first skyscraper), and the stores, trains, movie palaces, parks, and racetracks that thrilled residents and tourists alike before falling victim to the wrecking ball of progress.
Chicago Then and Now
The latest installment in the popular Then and Now series showcases the capital of the Heartland and one of the premier cities in the nation and the world: Chicago. Chicago's change and growth over the last century is captured in this photographic history. Modern color photos sit side by side with black and white archival photographs. Every important building, avenue, neighborhood, and point of interest is documented. It covers all of Chicago's landmarks from Navy Pier to the Stockyards and from the Southside all the way up the Magnificent Mile. Take in a game at Wrigley Field, then take it all in from the top of the Willis Tower. The Water Tower and all the other architectural features that make Chicago great are also included.
Hailed as the most suspenseful and compelling novel in decades, PRESUMED INNOCENT brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It's the stunning portrayal of one man's all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts everything he loves and values on trial--including his own life. It's a book that lays bare a shocking world of betrayal and murder, as well as the hidden depths of the human heart. And it will hold you and haunt you... long after you have reached its shattering conclusion.
Scott Turow was born in Chicago in 1949. He graduated with high honors from Amherst College in 1970, receiving a fellowship to Stanford University Creative Writing Center which he attended from 1970 to 1972. From 1972 to 1975 Turow taught creative writing at Stanford. In 1975, he entered Harvard Law School, graduating with honors in 1978. From 1978 to 1986, he was an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, serving as lead prosecutor in several high-visibility federal trials investigating corruption in the Illinois judiciary. In 1995, in a major pro bono legal effort he won a reversal in the murder conviction of a man who had spent 11 years in prison, many of them on death row, for a crime another man confessed to.
Today, Scott Turow is a partner in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, an international law firm, where his practice centers on white-collar criminal litigation and involves representation of individuals and companies in all phases of criminal matters. Turow lives outside of Chicago.
Chicago: A Brief History
"Chicago: A Brief History" presents a comprehensive look at the city’s transformation from a fur trade outpost to America’s Second City. This compact digital compendium helps you track the diverse forces that shaped the city as we know it. You’ll explore the exciting history behind the city’s cultural, economic, and architectural mainstays.
You’ll also gain valuable insight into groundbreaking Chicago events and major figures down through history, including:
The Birth of a Major Trade City
The Great Fire of 1871
Construction of the Sears Tower
Chicago’s “Public Enemies”
The University of Chicago
I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.
So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives.
In this ambitious debut novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Cheney’s profound influence on Wright.
Drawing on years of research, Horan weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual. Horan’s Mamah is a woman seeking to find her own place, her own creative calling in the world. Mamah’s is an unforgettable journey marked by choices that reshape her notions of love and responsibility, leading inexorably to this novel’s stunning conclusion.
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
Erik Larson intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World's Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.
Chicago Days: 150 Defining Moments in the Life of a Great City
Journey back through time to relive events that shaped the Chicago metropolitan area and contributed to its world-class reputation. Chicago Days is a collection of 150 essays and 500 dramatic photographs compiled from the voluminous files of the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Historical Society, and other important collections.
The Old Man & The Sea
It is the story of an epic struggle between an old, seasoned fisherman and the greatest catch of his life. For eighty-four days, Santiago, an aged Cuban fisherman, has set out to sea and returned empty-handed. So conspicuously unlucky is he that the parents of his young devoted apprentice and friend, Manolin, have forced the boy to leave the old man in order to fish in a more prosperous boat. Nevertheless, the boy continues to care for the old man upon his return each night. He helps the old man tote his gear to his ramshackle hut, secures food for him, and discusses the latest developments in American baseball, especially the trials of the old man's hero, Joe DiMaggio. Santiago is confident that his unproductive streak will soon come to an end, and he resolves to sail out farther than usual the following day.