AMERICA The Story of Us Book 4: The City Beautiful

Kevin Baker

With rising skyscrapers, growing industrial might, and the buzz of the modern metropolis, vibrant American cities are being forged. Explore the tenements captured by photographer and activist Jacob Riis to the emerging skylines of Chicago and New York in this video enhanced, full-color e-book that illuminates the rise of the modern nation.

Technological advances, including the Bessemer steel process and the harnessing of electricity, pave the way for America’s growing industrial might and the birth of the modern metropolis. Skyscrapers begin to shape the skylines of burgeoning cities, apartments rise, and people from all over the world migrate to the United States to gain their own piece of the American dream.

The unparalleled growth of these urban centers is not without its share of problems. Immigrants crowd into some of the worst slums in history and are exploited by unscrupulous business owners, corrupt politicians, and others. It takes an industrial tragedy and the works of progressives like Jacob Riis, who illuminates the problems of the poor, and Colonel George Waring who cleans up the streets of some of the worst cities, to forge a new spirit of reform that sweeps the country.

But even reform comes with a price. Temperance crusaders pass the Eighteenth Amendment, banning “the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors,” financing a generation of gangsters, and enabling the rise of crime syndicates. Social and political conflicts routinely turn violent as lynchings, race riots, labor strikes, and bombings begin to plague our modern nation. Yet through it all, America becomes the leading industrial power in the world. This enhanced e-book from HISTORY® combines dramatic storytelling with short video segments, historical visuals, and full-color images to provide an easy-to-understand overview of the emergence of modern America.

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