Oak Park, IL – Manhattan author Thomas Dyja visits Oak Park Public Library’s Dole Branch, 255 Augusta St., Oak Park, Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 7 pm with his New York Times best-selling book The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream. A native of Chicago’s Northwest side, Dyja believes Chicago’s extraordinary mix of architects, politicians, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, and actors shaped America’s culture and national identity. He’ll share stories from the book.
“While in the east coast New York was an industrial powerhouse, and on the west coast Hollywood sold fantasies, between 1946 and 1960, Chicago produced much of what defined modern, consumer America: Mies van der Rohe’s glass and steel architecture and massive urban planning schemes, Hefner’s Playboy and mass-market sex, Chuck Berry’s Rock and Roll; McDonald’s and the Fast Food Nation. Far from Hollywood and Broadway, Chicago also cultivated its own humanist aesthetic, rooted deep in the prairie, focused on people, intimacy, and improvisation.  Second City and Improv comedy, the urban Blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and the golden age of Gospel with Mahalia Jackson, the outlaw writings of Nelson Algren and the seeds of Studs Terkel’s oral histories…Chicago was the only place in the United States with the unique intermingling of race, class, and politics that could usher this wave of unparalleled creativity and innovation. It became our ‘third coast.” 
But, Dyja continues, “Chicago’s golden era didn’t last long. The election of Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1955 launched a frenzy of new building that came at the expense of Chicago’s wealth of creativity and diversity.” 
Dyja is the author of three novels and two works of nonfiction. The Third Coast has received great praise, named one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2013, and a Chicago Tribune best book of 2013. The Book Table will sell copies at the event.
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