The Pequod Review:
Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City is an engaging history of Chicago's red-light district and especially the infamous Everleigh Club, a high-end brothel that from 1900 to 1912 catered to senators, actors, businessmen and athletes. (As a measure of its enduring legend, the phrase "get laid" likely originated from the word Everleigh.) Abbott's book is very well-researched, a difficult task given the myths and exaggerations (on both sides) that surround the club. Some of the best sections describe the Everleigh's madams (Minna and Ada Everleigh) who treated their courtesans far better than competing brothels as they provided lavish meals, high-quality medical care and even a rich literary education. The clubs would eventually get swept up in broader culture clashes over prostitution and vice; religious and civic-minded reformers (not all of whom had honorable intentions) successfully pressured the authorities to shut down the city's brothels in the early 1910s.