Sin in the Second City Madams Ministers Playboys and the Battle for America's Soul mobi ✓ Hardcover read ↠ karen abbott

kindle Ú Sin in the Second City Madams Ministers Playboys and the Battle for America's Soul ß Karen Abbott

kindle Ú Sin in the Second City Madams Ministers Playboys and the Battle for America's Soul ß Karen Abbott Ica’s sexual culture and had repercussions all the way to the White House including the formation of the Federal Bureau of InvestigationWith a cast of characters that includes Jack Johnson John Barry 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 modernit In “Sin in the Second City” Karen Abbott tells us in her subtitle that the book is ultimately about “the Battle for America's Soul” Pretty heady I suppose that the battle still persists to this day so I shouldn’t have expected a victor in the book itself yet was left feeling unsatisfied at not even having a side to root for Abbott seemingly couldn’t decide if she was writing a slice of life about Chicago’s vice district at the turn of the century a profile of two successful sisters running a posh brothel or a narrative history of the battle between reformers and vice lords Elements of all three different books come to the fore at different times in the relatively scant 300 pages of text with no one tack prevailing I never felt that I had a satisfying level of detail about “the Levee” – the infamous vice district – or a real grasp of the tale of Ada and Minna Everleigh – the sister proprietors of the infamous “Everleigh Club” – OR a clear cut understanding of the major players and seuence of events in the battle between the reform movement and the criminal element Ultimately Abbott gives a muddled portrait of a bunch of people at the turn of the century who while colorful enough aren’t well enough detailed to be compelling or motivated well enough to be understandable dropped into a seuence of events that seems dramatic but is utterly without stakes or importanceThis leads to the primary uestion I had with the book who are we the readers supposed to root for if anyone andor who does Abbott seem to prefer in this mini epic “Battle”? I am also not so simple a reader as to reuire a “good guy” and a “bad guy” in the stories I read but some person or people I could care about on than a cursory level would have been sufficient Seemingly the Everleigh sisters in trying to raise their whorehouse to a higher standard and cater to a exclusive monied clientele are our heroes as it were But we know precious little about them partially because they presumably by necessity obfuscate so much information about their lives and partly because there are so many other outsize characters in the book that Abbott doesn’t have the time to invest them with anything other than the most limited amount of depth The other characters in the Levee are mostly abominable vicious pimps and madams forcing their whores into disgusting and vile acts while meting out healthy portions of abuse and disease Nobody to sympathize with there Abbott then treats the reformers of the time with disdain portraying them as timorous moralizers pedantic grandstanders superficial busybodies I suppose there is something postmodern in the idea that there are no heroes in this story but one still gets the feeling that Abbott sides with the vice district somehow wishing that prostitution segregated from the mainstream of society could entirely be elevated to the “classy” level of the Everleigh Club and allowed to continue on? Certainly the reform minded crusaders – religious and political – are not shown as heroic janitors of a social filth Yet Chicago’s vice district IS clearly a rats’ nest of illness and misery – with the possible exception of the dubious accomplishments of the Everleigh Club in partially raising the brothel to a not totally disgusting and horrendous levelIn this book it would seem a shame that the Everleigh Club was shuttered by an apprehensive and capricious mayor It may be that it is meant to be a shame simply because of the changing of the times – the passing of an epoch But I had a hard time working up a great deal of emotional nostalgia for the closing of Chicago’s fanciest whorehouse out of a pack of awful whorehouses Is this the sort of changing of the times that we should lament? The end of the good times? We aren’t even to the Roaring ‘20s yet Were these times really so good in the first place?? Abbott is at pains to downplay much of the basis for the moral fervor over “white slavery” She seems largely to dismiss the idea advocated by the reformers that credulous women from out of town were lured off train platforms into houses of ill repute by moustache twirling villains Instead she indicates that many of these women chose “the life” for themselves I both have a hard time believing this and have a hard time accepting it as a mitigating factor in the brutal turn of the century sex industry Is it proto feminism? A woman’s right to do with her body as she pleases? Based on some of the nasty anecdotes in the book one would imagine it was anything but Is she really advocating for women to be allowed to be publicly whipped in SM style displays for male titillation? Such were some of the entertainments at the less classy brothels Does anyone really think women were willingly and rationally choosing this for themselves? Yet Abbott’s authorial loyalties do seem to lie with her unruly anti heroic whores and madams Obviously I just don’t get itThe book was interesting enough as a sketch of a wonderfully alien time and place all taking place here in the city where I live and the streets where I walk But beyond the curiosity factor I did not find much of any substance – certainly nothing that would indicate this book was about the battle for America’s very soul I would have appreciated Abbott tipping her hand why aside from the vaguest modern day resonances of religious people legislating morality were the reformers so lame in her eyes? Conversely Abbott would have been well served to detach herself and give us sympathetic characters on both sides of the battle a compassionate reformer with the best interests of women and society at heart clashing with a big hearted madam just trying to make a living to show the democratic conundrum between freedom and immorality But the battle is inconsistently pitched from an authorial perspective and ultimately relegates the book into muddled if interesting purposelessness

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Sin in the Second City Madams Ministers Playboys and the Battle for America's Soul mobi ✓ Hardcover read ↠ karen abbott ï [Epub] ➜ Sin in the Second City Madams Ministers Playboys and the Battle for America's Soul Author Karen Abbott &# 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 har I want to stress that this is a work of nonfiction; every character I describe lived and breathed if not necessarily thrived on the Levee's mean streets writes author Karen Abbott in her introductionWhat immediately bothered me about the book though was the extent to which Karen Abbott took liberties to 'fictionalize' her non fiction adding window dressing and drapery to an already rich tapestry of research materialTake this section for instance'It's going to be difficult at first I know' Minna continued She walked slowly up and down the line a commander instructing her troops arms folded heels clackingI found this style irritating and distracting It made me doubt Abbott's usage of her sources What were her sources anyway? I would have liked to hear about them and not just stuffed in the back in the bibliography What source material is she relying upon? How credible is it? THAT ASIDE I thought the actual story Abbott had to tell about the history of Chicago's vice district was interesting if a little disjointed There seemed to be so many different angles to the story and the author seemed to dab a little in all of them without going into much depth There was a little about the reform movement a little about the way Big Jim Ike Bloom Hinky Dink Kenna greased the wheels of law enforcement a little about the schemings of Vic Shaw a little about the Everleigh sisters themselves Abbott gave a little of everything but kept me wanting to know about everything too

Karen Abbott ß Sin in the Second City Madams Ministers Playboys and the Battle for America's Soul reader

Sin in the Second City Madams Ministers Playboys and the Battle for America's SoulLot’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 BalzacNot 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 Amer It's hard to believe that there was a time in American history where many of the major cities not only had open brothels but whole districts devoted to them Prostitution was a business and a flourishing one at that One brothel in particular the Everleigh Club in Chicago during the turn of the century is the fascinating subject of Karen Abbot's book Sin in the Second City The Everleigh sisters Minna and Ada were the famous madams of this brothel It was so well known and popular that there was a waiting list of prostitutes hoping to become one of the Everleigh girls Cultivating strong political relationships with many figures in local and federal government enforcing strict rules and regulations for both the working girls and patrons of their establishment and ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for their girls the Everleigh sisters were clearly progressive thinkers and advocates for better working conditions for the ladies in the world's oldest profession Besides proper health care the Everleigh sisters also believed in education for their girls Legitimizing the brothel was not to be however due to a reform movement that swept the nation at the time Started primarily by ministers politicians and temperance minded housewives this movement began as a fear driven attempt to eradicate the white slave trade which many saw as an epidemic of our nation's young women being kidnapped raped and forced to live out the rest of their short lives as prostitutes Several famous books and even a genre of white slave trade motion pictures added fuel to an already out of control conflagration of misinformation and utter nonsense According to scientific studies the average life expectancy of a white slave a ruined young lady forced into prostitution was only five years These young women either died from untreated venereal disease suicide or murder Of course it's telling that tied into this white slavery craze was a deep rooted racism and anti immigrant sentiment as it was well known that most white slavers were Italians or Jews Brothel after brothel were shut down in highly publicized raids but relatively untouched was the charismatic and soft spoken Everleigh sisters who lived to be in their 80s and cultivated deep friendships with such famous literary figures as Theodore Dreiser and Irving Wallace Abbot's book is as entertaining as it is scandalous with a cast of colorful characters including Vic Shaw the loud mouthed big bosomed madam that hated the Everleigh sisters so much that she tried to frame them for murder twice; Big Jim Colossimo a spaghetti loving gangster who may or may not have been executed by his own bodyguard a young Alphonse Capone; the Reverand Ernest Bell a devout minister who almost single handedly led the crusade against the evil brothel owners of Chicago; and a slew of others with names like Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin Sin in the Second City is a fun little foray into the red light district of American history