Select language, opens an overlay
Sin in the Second City

Sin in the Second City

Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A vivid snapshot of America's journey from Victorian-era propriety to 20th-century modernity. 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 at the dawn of the 20th century, the Club welcomed moguls and actors, senators and athletes, foreign dignitaries and literary icons into a stately double mansion, and the Everleigh sisters treated their girls far better than most madams. But not everyone appreciated their attempts to elevate the industry. Their most daunting foes were the Progressive Era reformers, who sent the 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 FBI.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2007]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2007
ISBN: 9781400065301
Branch Call Number: 306.74 Abbott
Characteristics: xxiv, 356 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 27, 2019

A tale of two madams in Edwardian-era Chicago who strove to run the classiest bordello in town. Featuring the tales of the women who worked there and the characters who enjoyed them, the shady politicians and graft-taking cops who kept them on top, and the rivals and do-gooders who tried to take them down. The timeline does get confusing from time to time but I found it to be an entertaining read; a glimpse into an era of history now long gone when vice was largely winked at and tolerated.

Jul 08, 2019

This book started out promising - about the most successful madams and brothels in Chicago. They changed the way the city operated, and how brothels were viewed! Well... maybe. Maybe I was expecting too much. The timeline was jumbled and the author didn't find enough information about the main characters to answer any of the pressing questions I had at the end of the story. There was interesting historical information, but overall, it read like a graduate thesis with a fancy cover slapped on it, or like a cash grab by someone trying to bank on the popularity of "Devil in the White City," a much better investigation into Chicago's seedy underbelly.

mvkramer Apr 16, 2016

This book started off well, but just became kind of aimless and repetitive. I didn't have a clear sense of when things were happening relative to each other. Still, this book has a lot of interesting historical detail. I didn't know that the FBI was formed originally to fight human trafficking, for instance. It was depressing to see how people who organized and profited from selling girls into sexual slavery got off scot free - as they do today, honestly. Also available as a streaming audiobook.

lifesgood79 Mar 02, 2011

great book on Chicago history


Add Notices
mvkramer Apr 16, 2016

Violence: A prostitute gets severely beaten by her madam.

mvkramer Apr 16, 2016

Sexual Content: Non-explicit discussions of sex and rape.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at GBPL

To Top