Title: The Radical Book Shop of Chicago
Subtitle: In Which a Disaffected Preacher, His Blind Anarchist Wife, and Their Precocious Daughters Create an Important Hub of Literary, Bohemian, and Revolutionary Culture in Progressive-Era Chicago
Author: Kevin I. Slaughter, with texts by Lillian H. Udell
“An interesting and remarkable work of scholarship, as well as being without question the most typographically attractive publication we have seen in a long time.” –Fred Woodworth The Match
Step into the history of The Radical Book Shop of Chicago, a forgotten hub of anarchist, unionist, socialist, and communist literature. From its humble beginnings in 1914, this bookstore inspired revolutionaries and welcomed poets, novelists, roughnecks, and even would-be assassins around its iron stove. Despite police and political harassment, for over a decade the Radical Book Shop remained a beloved destination for rebels and intellectuals alike.
Howard and Lillian H. Udell founded this “shoebox-sized” bookstore out of desperation using their personal library. The curious and precocious Udell daughters helped them run the tiny outlet, where they grew up with habitués such as union tough guy Big Bill Haywood and his Wobblies; literary luminaries Kenneth Rexroth, Sherwood Anderson, Ralph Chaplin, and Carl Sandburg; the wild hobohemians of the Dil Pickle Club and Bughouse Square; artist Stanisław Szukalski; and notorious outsiders like Arthur “Ragnar Redbeard” Desmond (author of Might is Right) and Nestor “Jean Crones” Dondoglio (mastermind behind the infamous 1916 “soup-poison plot”).
The Radical Book Shop of Chicago by Kevin I. Slaughter is a thoroughly researched and prolifically illustrated history of this incredible hub of political and artistic dynamite. With an appendix of all known writings by Lillian H. Udell, including a biographical sketch of Voltairine De Cleyre, and reviews of several books published by Charles H. Kerr. Whether you’re interested in the hidden history of radical politics and literature, or simply curious about the influential figures who frequented the store, this book is a must-read.
Paperback | 5.5 x 8.5”, 128 pages | Price: $16.95 | ISBN: 978-1-943687-28-2
Hardback | 5.75 x 8.75”, 128 pages | Price: $66 | ISBN: 978-1-943687-29-9