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Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul
by Karen Abbott

Published by Random House

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Step into the perfumed parlors of Chicago's Everleigh Club, the most famous brothel in American history -- and the catalyst for a culture war that rocked the nation. Minna and Ada Everleigh, the two sisters who operated the Club at the dawn of the last century, were unlike other madams: The Everleighs made sure their girls dined on gourmet food, were examined by an honest physician, and were even tutored in the literature of Balzac. But not everyone appreciated the sisters' attempts to elevate the industry. Progressive Era reformers, spouting lurid tales of "white slavery," ignited a furor that shaped America's sexual culture and had repercussions all the way to the White House, even leading to 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 Al Capone, Sin in the Second City provides a vivid snapshot of America's journey from Victorian-era propriety to twentieth-century modernity.


pub date: 2008-06-10 | paperback | 9780812975994