Sin in the Second City : madams, ministers, playboys, and the battle for America's soul

by Abbott, Karen, 1973-

Format: Print Book 2007
Availability: Available at 8 Libraries 8 of 8 copies
Available (8)
Location Collection Call #
Brentwood Library Nonfiction 306.7409773 Abbott
Location  Brentwood Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  306.7409773 Abbott
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction HQ146.C4 A23 2007
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  HQ146.C4 A23 2007
Carnegie Library of Homestead Non Fiction 306.7409 Abbo
Location  Carnegie Library of Homestead
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  306.7409 Abbo
Carnegie Library of McKeesport Nonfiction 306.74 Ab27
Location  Carnegie Library of McKeesport
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  306.74 Ab27
Community Library of Castle Shannon Non Fiction 306.74 Abbott
Location  Community Library of Castle Shannon
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  306.74 Abbott
Dormont Public Library Non-Fiction 306.7409 A2
Location  Dormont Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  306.7409 A2
Moon Township Public Library Non-Fiction 306.74 ABBOTT
Location  Moon Township Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  306.74 ABBOTT
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 306.7409 AB2
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  306.7409 AB2
Step into the perfumed parlors of the Everleigh Club, the most famous brothel in American history-and the catalyst for a culture war that rocked the nation. Operating in Chicago''s notorious Levee district at the dawn of the last century, the Club''s 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 harlot''s 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 slavery"----the allegedly rampant practice of kidnapping young girls and forcing them into brothels. This furor shaped America''s 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 Abbott''s colorful, nuanced portrait of the iconic Everleigh sisters, their world-famous Club, and the perennial clash between our nation''s 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 America''s journey from Victorian-era propriety to twentieth-century modernity.

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"Delicious... Abbott describes the Levee''s characters in such detail that it''s easy to mistake this meticulously researched history for literary fiction." ---- New York Times Book Review

" Described with scrupulous concern for historical immensely readable book."
---- Joseph Epstein, The Wall Street Journal

"Assiduously researched... even this book''s 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 Philadelphia Inquirer

"Once upon a time, Chicago had a world class bordello called The Everleigh Club. Author Karen Abbott brings the opulent place and its raunchy era alive in a book that just might become this years " The Devil In the White City ." ---- Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine (cover story)

"As Abbott''s delicious and exhaustively researched book makes vividly clear, the Everleigh Club was the Taj Mahal of bordellos." ---- Chicago Sun Times

"The book is rich with details about a fast-and-loose Chicago of the early 20th century... Sin explores this world with gusto, throwing light on a booming city and exposing its shadows."
---- Time Out Chicago

"[Abbott''s] research enables the kind of vivid description à la fellow journalist Erik Larson''s The Devil in the White City that make what could be a dry historic account an intriguing read."
- Seattle Times

"Abbott tells her story with just the right mix of relish and restraint, providing a piquant guide to a world of sexuality" ---- The Atlantic

"A rollicking tale from a more vibrant time: history to a ragtime beat."
- Kirkus Reviews

"With gleaming prose and authoritative knowledge Abbott elucidates one of the most colorful periods in American history, and the result reads like the very best fiction. Sex, opulence, murder -- What''s not to love?"
---- Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

"A detailed and intimate portrait of the Ritz of brothels, the famed Everleigh Club of turn-of-the-century Chicago. Sisters Minna and Ada attracted the elites of the world to such glamorous chambers as the Room of 1,000 Mirrors, complete with a reflective floor. And isn''t Minna''s advice to her resident prostitutes worthy advice for us all: "Give, but give interestingly and with mystery."''
---- Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City

"Karen Abbott has combined bodice-ripping salaciousness with top-notch scholarship to produce a work more vivid than a Hollywood movie."
---- Melissa Fay Greene, author of There is No Me Without You

" Sin in the Second Cit y is a masterful history lesson, a harrowing biography, and - best of all - a superfun read. The Everleigh story closely follows the turns of American history like a little sister. I can''t recommend this book loudly enough."
---- Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng

"This is a story of debauchery and corruption, but it is also a story of sisterhood, and unerring devotion. Meticulously researched, and beautifully crafted, Sin in the Second City is an utterly captivating piece of history."
---- Julian Rubinstein, author of Ballad of the Whiskey Robber
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: ""Chicago, the saying goes, ain't ready for reform. It certainly wasn't in 1899, when sisters Ada and Minna Everleigh (real name: Simms) opened their brothel. As Abbott's jaunty history relates, their whorehouse was not a tawdry bang barn for johns with a nickel but a glitzy palace of paid pleasure for plutocrats. Ada and Minna's Everleigh Club prospered, protected by payoffs to Chicago's legendary political crooks Bathhouse Coughlin and Hinky Dink Kenna, but the bordello's brazenness mobilized moralists alarmed by vice, so-called white slavery in particular. An entertaining read, by turns bawdy and sad, as when a courtesan ends up dead, Abbott's account extends beyond local history because the campaign against Ada and Minna had lasting national effects: the closure of urban red-light districts and the passage of the federal Mann Act concerning prostitution. Abbott adroitly evokes the cathouse atmosphere, but it is the rapier-sharp character sketches of the cast that best show off her authorial skills and will keep readers continually bemused as they learn about the lives and times of two madams."--"Taylor, Gilbert" Copyright 2007 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Freelance journalist Abbott's vibrant first book probes the titillating milieu of the posh, world-famous Everleigh Club brothel that operated from 1900 to 1911 on Chicago's Near South Side. The madams, Ada and Minna Everleigh, were sisters whose shifting identities had them as traveling actors, Edgar Allan Poe's relatives, Kentucky debutantes fleeing violent husbands and daughters of a once-wealthy Virginia lawyer crushed by the Civil War. While lesser whorehouses specialized in deflowering virgins, beatings and bondage, the Everleighs spoiled their whores with couture gowns, gourmet meals and extraordinary salaries. The bordello-which boasted three stringed orchestras and a room of 1,000 mirrors-attracted such patrons as Theodore Dreiser, John Barrymore and Prussian Prince Henry. But the successful cathouse was implicated in the 1905 shooting of department store heir Marshall Field Jr. and inevitably became the target of rivals and reformers alike. Madam Vic Shaw tried to frame the Everleighs for a millionaire playboy's drug overdose, Rev. Ernest Bell preached nightly outside the club and ambitious Chicago state's attorney Clifford Roe built his career on the promise of obliterating white slavery. With colorful characters, this is an entertaining, well-researched slice of Windy City history. Photos. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Everleigh, Ada.
Everleigh, Minna.
Everleigh Club.
Prostitution -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Brothels -- Illinois -- Chicago.
Publisher New York :Random House,2007
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description xxiv, 356 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [331]-339) and index.
ISBN 9780812975994 (pkb)
9781400065301 (hardcover : alk. paper)
1400065305 (hardcover : alk. paper)
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