The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City


Product Details

$12.00  $11.04
University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
5.52 X 0.52 X 8.48 inches | 0.56 pounds

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About the Author

Carl Smith is the Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English and American Studies and professor of history at Northwestern University. He is the author of Chicago and the American Literary Imagination, 1880-1920, and Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief, both published by the University of Chicago Press.


"The story of Burnham's plan has been told many times but never in a more appealing or succinct style than in Carl Smith's modest little book, The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City. . . . What sets this book apart from other Burnham histories is Smith's attention to the filthy, miserable, nineteenth-century city that repelled and motivated Burnham, and the extraordinary promotional effort led by the Commercial Club of Chicago that sold his plan to the public. . . . A clear-eyed assessment of Burnham."--Lois Wille "Chicago Tribune" (11/14/2006 12:00:00 AM)

"Carl Smith breathes inspired new life into Daniel Burnham, the major figure behind the 1909 Plan of Chicago. Smith vividly describes both the thoughtful conceptualization and the masterful showmanship of Burnham and his many collaborators in the Plan development. Smith shows that this is a plan that reshaped American notions of the modern city."

--Ann Durkin Keating, coeditor of The Encyclopedia of Chicago "Chicago Tribune" (11/14/2006 12:00:00 AM)

"Carl Smith's The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City is a triumph of meticulous research, clear organization, and accessible writing. In his hands the story of the Plan, the campaign to promote it, and its influence on generations of Chicagoans come alive." --Robert Bruegmann, University of Illinois at Chicago, author of Sprawl: A Compact History

--Ann Durkin Keating, coeditor of The Encyclopedia of Chicago "Robert Bruegmann" (11/14/2006 12:00:00 AM)
Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago has long been regarded as one of the benchmark documents of American urban and regional planning in the twentieth century. Carl Smith has now provided the first book-length study of this signal moment in the history of American city, exploring its larger context and helping modern readers understand the role it played in shaping the subsequent history not just of Chicago but of metropolitan America.--William Cronon, author of Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. "Robert Bruegmann" (11/14/2006 12:00:00 AM)
"An imaginative, beautifully produced, and visually appealing masterpiece of stirring prose and stunning illustration. . . . Carl Smith's book is a concise, splendidly accessible, and beautifully constructed introduction to a seminal work of American urban planning and its enduring influence on Chicago and other American cities. He writes particularly well, without padding or academic jargon, and admirable self-restraint: He tells us just enough about the men and the times that created The Plan of Chicago to make us want to learn more on our own. One can offer no higher praise for a writer."--New York Sun "William Bryk" (11/24/2006 12:00:00 AM)
"A concise and reader-friendly introduction to the visionary and ambitious plan that helped shape much of the Windy City as we know it today."--Chicago Sun-Times "Kevin Nance" (1/7/2007 12:00:00 AM)
"This well-written book on the 1909 Plan of Chicago, 'The Burnham Plan, ' excellently summarizes numerous publications about the plan and its influence on Chicago's development."-J.W. Stamper, CHOICE --Chicago Sun-Times "CHOICE" (4/1/2007 12:00:00 AM)
Smith's storytelling, saturated in engaging fact, gives sharp yet sweeping coverage of how the plan came to be and how certain parts were laboriously implemented. . . . Smith's addition to the history and architecture of the city gives fresh perspective on where we've been and where we're going.--Robert Duffer "Make" (4/1/2007 12:00:00 AM)
Smith takes up where [Pierce's History of Chicago] left off, and his work may stand alongside hers as the starting point for numerous inquiries into the fascinating city of Chicago.--Elaine Lewinnek "Urban History" (4/1/2007 12:00:00 AM)
Smith has produced a compelling and informative story of a time when the civic realm was still robust. By focusing on the individuals behind the Plan, placing the Plan in the context of Chicago's history, and offering a wealth of detailed knowledge, Smith has written an important book. One cannot fully understand either city planning or the role of business in urban development without knowing what happened in Chicago in 1909.--Robert A, Beauregard "Enterprise and Society" (4/1/2007 12:00:00 AM)

"Fascinating. . . . One comes away from this finely written book with the conviction that Burnham is arguably not only the most influential person in Chicago's history--but also America's most successful architect and visionary urban planner. . . . The Plan of Chicago tells one of the great American urban stories."

--James Schmiechen "Michigan Historical Review" (12/11/2008 12:00:00 AM)
"Smith's storytelling, saturated in engaging fact, gives sharp yet sweeping coverage of how the Plan came to be and how certain parts were laboriously implemented."--James Schmiechen "Examiner" (12/11/2008 12:00:00 AM)