The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream ($29.95) is Chicago-native Thomas Dyja's cultural history of the Windy City at midcentury and how its incredible mix of architects, politicians, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, and actors shaped America’s culture and identity.
Between 1946 and 1960, Chicago was home to the likes of Mies van der Rohe, who produced the architecture that would define corporate America; Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s; Hugh Hefner; the Chess brothers, who helped take rock and roll to new heights with Chuck Berry; Nelson Algren and his outlaw novels; Gwendolyn Brooks and her unparalleled poems; Studs Terkel, who captured the heart of America in his oral histories; Mahalia Jackson, who gave gospel mainstream appeal; and Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, who enshrined the Black Chicago experience in their urban blues. Chicago also produced outstanding playwrights, and the Second City, whose famous alumni—Bill Murray, John Belushi, Tina Fey—became synonymous with American comedy and entertainment. In short, Chicago was at the heart of the American Century.
“Magisterial… a luminous, empathetic, and engrossing portrait of a city.” – Publishers Weekly
“A readable, richly detailed history of America's second city. A valuable contribution to the history of Chicago.” – Kirkus
Thomas Dyja is the author of three novels: Play for a Kingdom, Meet John Trow and The Moon in Our Hands. He also wrote a biography of civil rights pioneer Walter White and continues to create books as an editor-at-large for Thames & Hudson. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, literary agent Suzanne Glick.