In the fall of 2020, amidst riots, looting, and an alarming uptick in senseless killings, journalist Matt Rosenberg returns to his native Chicago to see if the city can dig itself out of the hot mess it’s become after decades of liberal governance.
Our nation’s big cities are broken. Urban progressive government badly undermines those it claims to lift. Matt Rosenberg lived in Chicago for thirty years and came back to live there again amidst the turmoil of 2020. What Next, Chicago? Notes of a Pissed-Off Native Son exposes the roots of Chicago’s violent crime, failing courts and schools, rotten finances, and ongoing Black exodus, and proposes a rescue plan for this emblematic American city.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
"What has happened to Chicago? That's Matt Rosenberg's question, and mine as well. His loving tribute to our hometown is a moving, sensitive, humane and trenchant critical assessment. Read it and weep." - Glenn C. Loury, Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences, Brown University, author of "One By One from the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America," and host of The Glenn Show at substack.com.
"Matt Rosenberg writes about the Chicago Way in the Chicago Style of a Mike Royko...It’s a coherent, honest and balanced tour of the city’s perpetual corruption, unsafe streets, gawd-awful schools, ghost neighborhoods, financial legerdemain and the false Unified Theory of Systemic Racism that cloaks it all. Yet, What Next? is no helpless, hopeless wail, but a powerful and useful roadmap for a rebirth of a once-great city, based on the voices of Black families and others who don’t need academia to know what to do. Must reading for Chicago lovers." - Dennis Byrne, former Chicago Sun-Times editorial board member, author of "Madness: The War of 1812."
"Not since author Alex Kotlowitz ventured into Chicago's Henry Horner housing projects has an author offered such a thoughtful and thorough first-hand analysis of the state of urban disrepair. Leaders from cities across America would be well served by reading Matt Rosenberg's account of what's happening in Chicago and how not to make some of the same mistakes.” - Cyrus Krohn, former Publisher, Slate.com, author of “Bombarded: How to Fight Back Against the Online Assault on Democracy.”
"Matt Rosenberg came of age in Chicago...and "What's Next, Chicago?" is about his return...to see for himself what's gone so terribly wrong in the town once regarded as America's model metropolis. The answer...is...cronyism on a gargantuan scale. Endless race hustling of the ugliest kind. An education system that has given up on the underclass. Corruption (that's) deep and intractable...But Rosenberg's scrupulous investigation is full of unexpected turns, and along the way he encounters those of every station who offer at least some reason for hope. Indeed, notwithstanding his clear-eyed record of the city's decline...his love of the city and its people shine through this brave and important book." - Harry Stein, author, "Why We Won't Talk Honestly About Race."
“Matt Rosenberg digs deep into the reasons why a city with such a strong economy can nonetheless lose its moorings. His take on Chicago’s politicians, schools and crime rates is caustic and impossible to ignore...Rosenberg's chapters grab hold of you, again and again, as he ranges across the most ravaged neighborhoods of the South Side, appreciating the never-quit determination of barbers, donut stand operators and gang members turned Uber drivers.” - George Anders, Senior Editor-at-Large, LinkedIn, and author of “The Rare Find: How Great Talent Stands Out.” (Review)
PLUG BOOK: What Next, Chicago?: Notes of a Pissed-Off Native Son
BIO: Rosenberg drove a Yellow Cab in Chicago; worked on the Better Government Association/Chicago Sun-Times Pulitzer-finalist Mirage Tavern probe; helped elect reform alderman Marion Volini of Edgewater to the Chicago City Council; cut his teeth as a suburban reporter for Lerner Newspapers covering regional airport issues; and was a point man for suburban mayors battling Daley II on airport planning. He did airport-related work in Seattle; was a Seattle Times op-ed columnist and a national writer; and a blogging pioneer regionally and nationally. He worked at a Gates-funded surface transportation think tank which helped bring to life a new deep-bored tunnel and road-charging policies. He founded and guided news advocacy start-ups supporting the Washington State business community; and was senior editor of a Mozilla-backed online daily global news magazine promoting open systems and open government. An inveterate hiker in the PNW and Mountain West, he has worked in public policy, advocacy, journalism, and communications for more than three decades.
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