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Ben Hecht: 1001 Afternoons in Chicago

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9781451531275: Ben Hecht: 1001 Afternoons in Chicago
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Ben Hecht: 1001 Afternoons in Chicago is a compilation of more than 60 columns written for the Chicago Daily News that Hecht's editor called "journalism extraordinary; journalism that invaded the realm of literature." The hardboiled audacity and wit that became Ben Hecht's signature as Hollywood's most celebrated screen-writer are conspicuous in these vignettes. Most of them are comic and sardonic, some strike muted tragic or somber atmospheric notes. . . . The best are timeless character sketches that have taken on an added interest as shards of social history. Ben Hecht's collection, as presented in 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, is a timeless caricature of urban American life in the jazz age. From the glittering opulence of Michigan Avenue to the darkest ruminations of an escaped convict, from captains of industry to immigrant day laborers, Ben Hecht captures 1920s Chicago in all its furor, intensity, and absurdity. Hecht's book offers scruffy time capsules of an earlier Chicago, an era that is long gone but still recognizable to readers'' imaginations. Michigan Avenue, Lake Michigan, street names such as Dearborn and Adams and LaSalle and Wabansia, places such as the Art Institute of Chicago--they''re all here. In Ben Hecht's words, Chicago is a razzle-dazzle of dreams, tragedies, fantasies, and his tales capture gorgeous scraps of it, vivid vignettes starring businessmen and hobos and cops and socialites and janitors. . . . Thanks to 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, Chicago of 1922 and the Chicago of 2009 bump into each other, shake hands, exchange greetings. Then, this being Chicago, they go for a drink and talk about old times.

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About the Author:

Ben Hecht (1894–1964), was an American screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, and novelist. Called "the Shakespeare of Hollywood", he received screen credits, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or screenplays of some 70 films and as a prolific storyteller, authored 35 books and created some of the most entertaining screenplays or plays in America.

Review:

“The columns in 1,001 Afternoons inChicago are scruffy time capsules of an earlier Chicago, an era that is long gone but still recognizable to readers' imaginations. Michigan Avenue, Lake Michigan, street names such as Dearborn and Adams and LaSalle and Wabansia, places such as the Art Institute of Chicago—they're all here, sprinkled amid Hecht's nervous little haikus of urban life. He calls Chicago ‘a razzle-dazzle of dreams, tragedies, fantasies,’ and his tales capture gorgeous scraps of it, vivid vignettes starring businessmen and hobos and cops and socialites and janitors. . . . Thanks to Hecht, the Chicago of 1922 and the Chicago of 2009 bump into each other, shake hands, exchange greetings. Then, this being Chicago, they go for a drink and talk about old times. New ones too.”

(Julia Keller Chicago Tribune 2009-07-12)

"Hecht's youthful journalism remains both movving and dazzling. He sided with the scrappy underdog and was endlessly alert to the moods of the great city that was his subject. . . . Saul Bellow read this book while still in high school and would always remember it, maybe because Hecht's sketches, while sometimes gritty and violent in content, also present a quest for lyricism and hope." (Richard Rayner Los Angeles Times)

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ISBN 10: 1451531273 ISBN 13: 9781451531275
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