on February 12, 2003
I have several of these "then and now" books, and I would say this is the weakest of the bunch. I dearly love Chicago, and some of the old photographs were very interesting, but the book has a few problems. First, the photographic perspectives are rarely in synch, so it is difficult to compare the two pictures directly; either the angle is off to the side, or it's at a different distance. This seems rather to defeat the purpose of a "then and now" theme, which is to facilitate comparison. Secondly, a great many of the buildings and scenes are virtually identical to what they were, so one wonders why they were included. Finally, a map should have been included.
On the positive side, many of Chicago's key spots are targeted, such as the Water Tower, the stockyards and Hull House, and the paragraphs that accompany each picture do convey a lot of interesting information.
If you are interested in Chicago or urban history you will undoubtedly still enjoy this volume, but lower your expectations a bit before the book arrives so you won't be disappointed.
on January 21, 2002
An interesting look at Chicago as it appeared in the past, compared to now. More than just a picture book, it also gives some historical perspective for each location. If you're a Chicagoan, this is a must have. There are two problems that keep this from getting a top ranking. First, the focus of a "then and now" book should be to compare and contrast, so we can see how much has changed. There's several locations shown here that haven't really changed, and you wonder why they were included. Also, the "then" and "now" pictures should be shot from roughly the same location, showing the same perspective. That's not always the case here, and you may have to spend some time figuring out how to get things lined up. Still, it's a good way to see how the city used to look, and a rare look at some of the now-missing architectural treasures.
on September 15, 2003
I enjoyed this book. Some of the pictures do not compare well because they were taken at different angles or from a different side of the street. Nevertheless, this is a great book. I found lots of stuff to compare. Native Chicagoans, who take an interest in the city, will like it. I purchased it for my brother for Christmas...liked it so much I purchased one for myself.