Step into the perfumed parlors of the Everleigh Club, the most
famous brothel in American history-and the catalyst for a culture
war that rocked the nation. Operating in Chicago's notorious Levee
district at the dawn of the last century, the Club's proprietors,
two aristocratic sisters named Minna and Ada Everleigh, welcomed
moguls and actors, senators and athletes, foreign dignitaries and
literary icons, into their stately double mansion, where thirty
stunning Everleigh "butterflies" awaited their arrival. Courtesans
named Doll, Suzy Poon Tang, and Brick Top devoured raw meat to the
delight of Prince Henry of Prussia and recited poetry for Theodore
Dreiser. Whereas lesser madams pocketed most of a harlot's earnings
and kept a "whipper" on staff to mete out discipline, the
Everleighs made sure their girls dined on gourmet food, were
examined by an honest physician, and even tutored in the literature
of Balzac. Not everyone appreciated the sisters' attempts to
elevate the industry. Rival Levee madams hatched numerous schemes
to ruin the Everleighs, including an attempt to frame them for the
death of department store heir Marshall Field, Jr. But the sisters'
most daunting foes were the Progressive Era reformers, who sent the
entire country into a frenzy with lurid tales of "white
slavery"----the allegedly rampant practice of kidnapping young
girls and forcing them into brothels. This furor shaped America's
sexual culture and had repercussions all the way to the White
House, including the formation of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. With a cast of characters that includes Jack
Johnson, John Barrymore, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., William Howard
Taft, "Hinky Dink" Kenna, and AlCapone, Sin in the Second City is
Karen Abbott's colorful, nuanced portrait of the iconic Everleigh
sisters, their world-famous Club, and the perennial clash between
our nation's hedonistic impulses and Puritanical roots. Culminating
in a dramatic last stand between brothel keepers and crusading
reformers, "Sin in the Second City" offers a vivid snapshot of
America's journey from Victorian-era propriety to twentieth-century
modernity. Visit www.sininthesecondcity.com to learn more Praise
for "Sin in the Second City: " "With gleaming prose and
authoritative knowledge Abbott elucidates one of the most colorful
periods in American history, and the result reads like the very
best fiction. Sex, opulence, murder -- What's not to love?" ----
Sara Gruen, author of "Water for Elephants " "A detailed and
intimate portrait of the Ritz of brothels, the famed Everleigh Club
of turn-of-the-century Chicago. Sisters Minna and Ada attracted the
elites of the world to such glamorous chambers as the Room of 1,000
Mirrors, complete with a reflective floor. And isn't Minna's advice
to her resident prostitutes worthy advice for us all: "Give, but
give interestingly and with mystery."' ---- Erik Larson, author of
"The Devil in the White City " " ""Karen Abbott has combined
bodice-ripping salaciousness with top-notch scholarship to produce
a work more vivid than a Hollywood movie." ---- Melissa Fay Greene,
author of "T
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