This image is the cover for the book Never a City So Real

Never a City So Real

This “clear-eyed” and “finely honed” account of an American city’s “mavericks” is filled with “captivating insights into Chicago history and culture” (Booklist).

The acclaimed author of There Are No Children Here, which the New York Public Library named as one of the most important books of the twentieth century, takes us into the heart of Chicago by introducing us to some of the city’s most interesting, if not always celebrated, people.

Chicago is one of America’s most iconic, historic, and fascinating cities, as well as a major travel destination. For Alex Kotlowitz, an accidental Chicagoan, it is the perfect perch from which to peer into America’s heart.

Chicago, like America, is a kind of refuge for outsiders. It’s probably why Alex Kotlowitz found comfort there. He’s drawn to people on the outside who are trying to clean up—or at least make sense of—the mess on the inside. Perspective doesn’t come easy if you’re standing in the center. Never a City So Real is not so much a tour of a place as a chronicle of its soul, its lifeblood. It is a tour of the people of Chicago, who have been the author’s guides into this city’s—and in a broader sense, this country’s—heart.

“Kotlowitz's characters—many of them throwbacks to the “rogues and roustabouts” who built the original pioneer town—evoke the character of his adopted city and, by inference, America itself, for he, like others before him, sees Chicago as this country's most representative city.” —The Washington Post

Alex Kotlowitz

Alex Kotlowitz is the award-winning author of four books, including the national best-seller There Are No Children Here, and, most recently, An American Summer. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, in New York Times Magazine, and on This American Life. He teaches at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

The University of Chicago Press