is one of America’s most iconic, historic, and fascinating
cities. For Alex Kotlowitz, an accidental Chicagoan, it is the
perfect perch from which to peer into America’s heart. It’s
a place, as one historian has said, of “messy vitalities,”
a stew of contradictions: coarse yet gentle, idealistic yet restrained,
grappling with is promise, alternately sure and unsure of itself.
Chicago, like America, is a kind of refuge for outsiders.
It’s probably why Alex Kotlowitz found comfort there. He’s
drawn to people on the outside who are trying to clean up –
or at least make sense of – the mess on the inside. Perspective
doesn’t come easy if you’re standing in the center.
As with There Are No Children Here, this is not so much
a tour of a place as a chronicle of its soul, its lifeblood. Never
a City So Real is a tour of the people of Chicago, who have
been his guides into this city’s – and by inference,
this country’s – heart.