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Chicago's Grand Midway: A Walk around the World at the Columbian Exposition
by Norman Bolotin
University of Illinois Press, 2017
eISBN: 978-0-252-09946-5 | Cloth: 978-0-252-03291-2 | Paper: 978-0-252-08242-9
Library of Congress Classification T500.B2B65 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.0680977311

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Created as a centerpiece for the Columbian Exposition of 1893, the Midway Plaisance was for one summer the world's most wondrous thoroughfare. A journey along its length immersed millions of spellbound visitors in a spectacle that merged exoticism with enlightenment and artistic crafts with dizzying technical achievement. Norman Bolotin, with Christine Laing, draws on his vast knowledge of the 1893 exposition to escort readers down the Midway. Step by step he takes you past forbidding Dahomeyans and dozens of belly dancers until, at last, you reach the colossal Ferris Wheel with cabins the size of street cars. The tour reveals the immense scale and variety of the experience in sensual detail--the thirsty crowds and the pungent aromas of exotic foods, the Libbey Glass Factory and the screams from the Ice Railway, the snake charmers and the hawkers selling a thousand souvenirs. Throughout, Bolotin details how the organizers--encouraging patrons to spend a little here and a little there--brought off an extravaganza that paid its costs and achieved every one of its goals, including profitability for the fair and immortality.

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