Where They Went To See The Future

The story of Chicago in the nineteenth century is the story of the making of America, Donald L. Miller says. A new PBS documentary based on a book he wrote shows why.

Donald Miller has never lived in Chicago, and he never thought of writing about it until he started noticing the curious ways its formative years reminded him of the flowering of Renaissance Florence. But once he got immersed in it he produced City of the Century , a sweeping history of the city from its earliest beginnings until after the 1893 world’s fair. The book was a prize-winning bestseller.

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Consider the Self-Made Man

It is an old joke in my family that my mother, the daughter of an immigrant tailor, never met a family poorer than her own until she met my father, who was lucky to get out of Germany in 1934 with the skin on his back. Only in America, as Harry Golden used to say, could the leap from the pushcarts of Orchard Street to the pages of American Heritage be accomplished in a single generation. Read more »