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MCA Store Presents: Thomas Dyja: The Third Coast

Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 6–8 pm

Thomas Dyja joins us to discuss his new book titled The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream. This program is organized by Authors @ the Library and presented in partnership with The MCA Store.

Though today it can seem as if all American culture comes out of New York and Los Angeles, much of what defined the nation as it grew into a superpower was produced in Chicago. Before air travel overtook trains, nearly every coast-to coast journey included a stop there, and this flow of people and commodities made it America’s central clearinghouse, laboratory, and factory.

Between the end of World War II and 1960, Mies van der Rohe’s glass and steel architecture became the face of corporate America, Ray Kroc’s McDonald’s changed how we eat, Hugh Hefner unveiled Playboy, and the Chess brothers supercharged rock and roll with Chuck Berry. At the University of Chicago, the atom was split and Western civilization was packaged into the Great Books.

Yet even as Chicago led the way in creating mass-market culture, its artists in literature, poetry, music and performance pushed back in their own distinct voices. Despite this diversity, the city did experience serious growing pains, especially along the lines of racial division. In luminous prose, Chicago native Thomas Dyja re-creates the story of the city in its postwar prime and explains its profound impact on modern America.

Books will be available for purchase and the author will autograph books immediately following the program.