The Pig And The Skyscraper

The Pig And The Skyscraper


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“You expect the city of Al Capone and what you find are pleasant boulevards coursing up and down between the neo-classical buildings of the 1893 Universal Exhibition ... The city center unfolds before you, an architectural miracle that is to twentieth-century urban planning what Venice must have been for the fifteenth century.”

Like a cross between Philip Marlowe and Walter Benjamin, Marco d’Eramo stalks the streets of Chicago, leaving no myth unturned. Maintaining a European’s detached gaze, he slowly comes to recognize the familiar stink of modernity that blows across the Windy City, the origins of whose greatness (the slaughterhouses, the railroads, the lumber and cereal-crop trades) are by now ancient history, and where what rears its head today is already scheduled for tomorrow’s chopping block. Chicago has been the stage for some of modernity’s key episodes: the birth of the skyscraper, the rise of urban sociology, the world’s first atomic reactor, the hard-nosed monetarism of the Chicago School. Here in this postmodern Babel, where the contradictions of American society are writ large, d’Eramo bears witness to the revolutionary, subversive power of capitalism at its purest.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781859844984
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 10/17/2003
Pages: 482
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.97(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Originally a physicist, Marco d’Eramo studied sociology with Pierre Bourdieu in Paris. He is a regular contributor to the newspaper Il manifesto and has written several books.

Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa’aloa, Hawaii.

Table of Contents

Part 11
1Arrival in Chicagoland3
2The Tracks of Tomorrow11
3The Mathematics of Pork25
4Buying the Future41
5Sky Grazing53
6Houses with Wings59
7Lumber Mines81
8A Streetcar Named Progress95
9Suburban Paradises111
10Faith Can Also Move Banks127
Metacity: An Imperial Metropolis141
Part 2149
11The Mayo Curdles in the Melting Pot151
12Black Flags on the Yards177
13Class Struggle in the Sleeping Car195
14When the Frankfurters Became Dogmeat211
15In the Capital of Hobohemia221
16At Nature's Feast239
Metacity: Such Compelling Chaos255
Part 3269
17Bronzeville: The End of Hope271
18Allah on Lake Michigan293
19Cabrini-Green: Where Paradise Once Stood315
20The Color of Cats327
21Greeks Heroes and Lumpen Capitalists337
22In the Cogs of the Machine355
23Prague in Illinois383
Metacity: Market Missionaries Beseiged in Fort Science395
Epilogue: Human Tides Again413
Postscript: One More Blues, and Then ...437

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The Pig and the Skyscraper 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
mjgrogan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An intense journey through the Randolph Street Train Station, the Futures Market, Haymarket, and then onto Indian Castes, Nation of Islam versus Mormonism, "Greek Heroes and Lumpen Capitalists"...that is to say, two-thirds the way through this 400 pager I was suddenly surprised when d'Erama mentioned the city of Chicago again. I had completely forgot that was the supposed topic of this book. This is not to say I was disappointed as generally this was interesting stuff (an Italian Mike Davis I suppose). Of course it has some of that Euro-criticism of US culture to it - no European city would sink to an embrace of such an appellation as Porkopolis or even "[Europe's:] Dairy Land" ¿ with a somewhat mixed opinion of our country¿s track record with immigrants. Yes we¿re all immigrants, but we treat immigrants unfairly. Whatever, it¿s all apparently a forecast of what the future of Europe might be like and ¿also a warning about what to avoid¿ as the Chicago Tribune review on the back says ¿ something I didn¿t read (nor did I see Frontline¿s, ¿kaleidoscope of a book, with its ability to surprise at every turn of the page.¿ which I find most germane, after the fact). It¿s all fine and dandy, but perhaps 200 pages would have sufficed.