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Cronon, William. Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 1991.
As with his other works, Cronon reclaims Frederick Jackson Turner as a "booster" of Western development, calling for a re-examination of his often derided views. Cronon is thorough in describing the natural environment of Chicago area before the advent of the city; in fact, Cronon demonstrates how nature (as suggested by the title) was truly an agent in the development of Chicago. He charts the growth of the city as railroads aided expanded industry, systematically examining the market economies of grain, lumber, and meat and the effects of these markets in helping to shape Chicago's place as a "gateway city." He concludes with a chapter on the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. As always with Cronon, his work is accessible to the non-scholar. A comprehensive 19th-century history, it also features historical drawings and photographs. [K. Smith]