Karen Abbott worked as a journalist on the staffs of Philadelphia magazine and Philadelphia Weekly, and has written for Salon.com and other publications. A native of Philadelphia, she now lives with her husband in Atlanta, where shes at work on her next book. Visit her online at www.sininthesecondcity.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
Step into the perfumed parlors of the Everleigh Club, the most famous brothel in American historyand the catalyst for a culture war that rocked the nation. Operating in Chicagos notorious Levee district at the dawn of the last century, the Clubs proprietors, two aristocratic sisters named Minna and Ada Everleigh, welcomed moguls and actors, senators and athletes, foreign dignitaries and literary icons, into their stately double mansion, where thirty stunning Everleigh butterflies awaited their arrival. Courtesans named Doll, Suzy Poon Tang, and Brick Top devoured raw meat to the delight of Prince Henry of Prussia and recited poetry for Theodore Dreiser. Whereas lesser madams pocketed most of a harlots earnings and kept a whipper on staff to mete out discipline, the Everleighs made sure their girls dined on gourmet food, were examined by an honest physician, and even tutored in the literature of Balzac.
Not everyone appreciated the sisters attempts to elevate the industry. Rival Levee madams hatched numerous schemes to ruin the Everleighs, including an attempt to frame them for the death of department store heir Marshall Field, Jr. But the sisters most daunting foes were the Progressive Era reformers, who sent the entire country into a frenzy with lurid tales of white slaverythe allegedly rampant practice of kidnapping young girls and forcing them into brothels. This furor shaped Americas sexual culture and had repercussions all the way to the White House, including the formation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
With a cast of characters that includes Jack Johnson, John Barrymore, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., William Howard Taft, Hinky Dink Kenna, and Al Capone, Sin in the Second City is Karen Abbotts colorful, nuanced portrait of the iconic Everleigh sisters, their world-famous Club, and the perennial clash between our nations hedonistic impulses and Puritanical roots. Culminating in a dramatic last stand between brothel keepers and crusading reformers, Sin in the Second City
offers a vivid snapshot of Americas journey from Victorian-era propriety to twentieth-century modernity.Visit www.sininthesecondcity.com to learn more!
Abbott describes the Levees characters in such detail that its easy to mistake this meticulously researched history for literary fiction. New York Times Book Review
Described with scrupulous concern for historical accuracy
an immensely readable book. Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal
even this books minutiae makes for good storytelling. Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Karen Abbott has pioneered sizzle history in this satisfyingly lurid tale. Change the hemlines, add 100 years, and the book could be filed under current affairs. USA Today
A rousingly racy yarn. Chicago Tribune
A colorful history of old Chicago that reads like a novel
a compelling and eloquent story. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Gorgeously detailed New York Daily News
At last, a history book you can bring to the beach. The Philadelph