The Damndest Radical: The Life and World of Ben Reitman, Chicago's Celebrated Social Reformer, Hobo King, and Whorehouse Physician

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9780252009846: The Damndest Radical: The Life and World of Ben Reitman, Chicago's Celebrated Social Reformer, Hobo King, and Whorehouse Physician

Traces the life of Chicago's controversial social reformer and describes his connections with Emma Goldman, Al Capone, Sherwood Anderson, and the Free Love movement

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From the Inside Flap:

"Any knowledge of Chicago's past is inadequate without the story of this Byronesque performer and his outrageous, and strangely visionary, colleagues. . . . [A] splendid biography." – Studs Terkel, Chicago Sun-Times "This spirited biography of a celebrated agitator, social reformer, and whorehouse physician keeps a neat balance between humor and seriousness--yes, and pathos." – Jack Conroy, Chicago Tribune "One of the most fascinating and least-known Americans of the [twentieth] century is profiled in this remarkable biography. . . . Bruns has fashioned a splendid book on an outstanding subject." – Publishers Weekly "Bruns captures the lives of Reitman and his unshaven associates with an infectious gusto and humor. . . . A joyous portrait of a man and his milieu, of interest to all armchair vagabonds." – Kirkus Reviews "[A] welcome introduction to a fascinating and little-known side of native radicalism and to an amusing, moving and uniquely American soul." – Patrick Clinton, New York Times Book Review

From Library Journal:

Not even low-life Chicago of the 1920s and 1930s bred many characters to match Reitman, whose resume parallels this book's subtitle: birth control advocate and physician to the demimonde; champion of hoboes and himself occasional rider of the rails; anarchist fellow traveler and longtime lover of Emma Goldman; patron of scruffy literary salons and author of books published and unpublished. On the strength of his various milieus Reitman deserves a biography. This one, however has neither the style nor the flavor necessary to justify a book about a man whose achievements were modest. Primarily of local interest. Robert F. Nardini, M.L.S., Concord, N.H.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Roger A. Bruns
Published by University of Illinois Press (1986)
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