Amazon.com description: Product Description
: 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.