Gilder Lehrman Book Breaks features the most exciting history scholars in America discussing their books with host Gena Oppenheim live, followed by a Q&A with home audiences.
Join us online on Sunday, October 3 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET (11: 00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. PT) with Carl Smith as he discusses his book "Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City".
From acclaimed Chicago historian Carl Smith comes the full and authoritative story of one of the most consequential disasters in American history. Chicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City is remarkably the first popular history of this legendary urban inferno. Once it began in the barn of Catherine and Patrick O’Leary on October 8, 1871, the fire quickly grew out of control, twice jumping the Chicago River on its relentless path through the city’s three divisions. The conflagration raged for thirty hours, destroyed three square miles of downtown, and left 90,000 residents homeless and bereft.
Building the story around memorable characters known to history and unknown, including the likes of General Sheridan and Robert Todd Lincoln, Smith chronicles the city’s rapid growth and place in America’s post-Civil War expansion. The dramatic story of the fire—revealing human nature in all its guises—became one of equally remarkable renewal, as Chicago quickly rose back up from the ashes thanks to local determination and the world’s generosity and faith in Chicago’s future.
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