1862, 1893, 1906, 2003, 1999, Chicago History Lowdown

The Jungle by Sinclair, 1906, is brilliant and it's a novel, meaning fiction, a tale, a story. Sinclair is a journalist and he even concealed his identity to research Chicago meatpacking and for seven weeks lived as a Chicago meat-packer. Then, he went somewhere and wrote a story. In this story the good intended main character, an illiterate Lithuanian, Jurgis, faces dull gray hopelessness. Yet this could be one of the best novels ever written.

Devil in the White City by Larson, 2003, is another well researched story about Chicago, 1893. Again, outstanding, I love it but The Jungle, I love, love!

My concern: Yesterday when I "Yahoo-ed, Goggle-ed" the story by Larson, the first page appeared with sites listing it as nonfiction! Even Wikipedia has it listed as nonfiction in a novelistic style, pardon me? Novelistic involves the literary genre of invented prose.

The point is this is important stuff, treat it as such, yes?

We have two great stories that certainly could have happened. We have one great nonfiction work, To Die In Chicago: Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65, 1999 by G. Levy. The two stories, the one nonfiction - are not pretty.

But the great news - Chicago thrives today after 1862, 1893 and 1906 because of our available literacy. Literacy is the best.

by Lucky Cull