The Saloon

Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, 1880-1920
Author: Perry R. Duis
Paper – $44
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1999
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About the Book

This colorful and perceptive study presents persuasive evidence that the saloon, far from being a magnet for vice and crime, played an important role in working-class community life. Focusing on public drinking in "wide open" Chicago and tightly controlled Boston, Duis offers a provocative discussion of the saloon as a social institution and a locus of the struggle between middle-class notions of privacy and working-class uses of public space.


"This important and fascinating study explores the world of the saloon and its many aspects. . . . Without dwelling on the bizarre or sentimentalizing his subject, [Duis] allows readers to share the flavor of saloons, their patrons, and their owners. . . . A valuable book for those who want to know about the development of urban life." — Library Journal

"This fine study is scholarly without being stodgy. . . . Duis embeds the saloon into the larger social history of the city and American economic history more successfully than any other work has done. . . . Duis has written the first serious historical study of the saloon and its role in American life at the turn of the century. Well organized and highly readable, The Saloon is a model of historical scholarship." — Choice

"The Saloon is a contribution of the first order, an exemplary model of the power of social history at its most revealing." — Mark Lender, Journal of Social History "[An] impressively researched, wide-ranging, and thoughtful examination of one much mythologized but seldom studied semipublic place. . . . Richly informative and engagingly written." — David E. Kyvig, Journal of American History