Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America’s Soul by Karen Abbott

At the start of the 1900s, Chicago was home to a pair of famous sisters, Ada and Minnie who were known to most as the madams of the Everleigh Club, a high end brothel in the Levee district of Illinois’s most populated city. Before Hefner had his ‘bunnies’, the Everleigh sisters introduced Chicago’s top aristocrats to their ‘butterflies’, beautiful women at their disposal, for whatever their desires. This high-end establishment reserved for Chicago’s elite hosted senators, dignitaries, famous authors, singers and movie stars. As their success continued to grow, other madams in the Chicago area saw their businesses suffer and continually tried to frame the sisters for one crime or another. That coupled with the social activism and political reform of that era was enough to finally drive the Everleigh Club out of business about 10 years later. Karen Abbott offers a great rendition of this time in history and anyone who’s a fan of biographies will enjoy this read.

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