Sin in the Second City

by


Author:  Karen Abbott

Title:  Sin in the Second City:  Madams, Ministers, Playboys and the Battle for America’s Soul

Genre:  Nonfiction, history

Publication Date:  2007

Number of Pages:  360

Geographical Setting:  Chicago

Time Period: 1900-1911

Series (If applicable):  n/a

Plot Summary:  Sin in the Second City details the rise and fall of Chicago’s most famous and well-respected brothel, the Everleigh Club.  Run by sisters Minna and Ada Everleigh, the club was the jewel of the south side Levee district, as the sisters strove to create an upscale business where only the best would do—the best customers, the best ladies, and the plushest décor.  The Everleigh Club boasted 50 rooms filled with perfume fountains, walls of mirrors, Oriental rugs, fine artwork, a library, and a gold leafed piano.  As the most prominent brothel of the vice district, the Everleigh Club was often the target for religious reformers and government agencies who were determined to stop white slavery—the kidnapping and selling of girls into a life of prostitution.  The reformers and the brothel owners clash for years, and this resulting story is candid, authoritative and will appeal to readers with an interest in Chicago history or in the “seedy underbelly” of American society.

Subject Headings:

Prostitution — Illinois — Chicago.

Brothels — Illinois — Chicago.

Everleigh Club.

Everleigh, Ada.

Everleigh, Minna.

Appeal:  leisurely-paced, candid, intriguing characters, layered, evocative, historical details, well-researched, straightforward, polished, atmospheric, eccentric characters, a few steamy scenes

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  historical details, eccentric characters, well-researched

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Devil in the White City—Erik Larson:  Both books are about the dark side of life in Chicago around the turn of the century.

The Outfit—Gus Russo:  Looks at corruption and crime within Chicago, without explicit violence.

Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern—Joshua Zeitz:  Both books explore the existence of women who didn’t conform to society’s standards during the early part of the century.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Jungle—Upton Sinclair:  A classic book about the underbelly of Chicago society.

The Coast of Chicago—Stuart Dybek:  This collection of fictional stories provides glimpses into the lives of eccentric Chicago residents.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores—Gabriel Garcia Marquez:  Has a prostitution theme, but the protagonist is a customer, instead of a professional.

Name:  Amanda

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