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Wide-open Town

Wide Open Town: Kansas City In The Pendergast Era


Kansas City is often seen as a mild-mannered metropolis in the heart of flyover country. But a closer look tells a different story, one with roots in the city- complicated and colorful past. The decades between World Wars I and II were a time of intense political, social, and economic change-for Kansas City, as for the nation as a whole. In exploring this city at the literal and cultural crossroads of America, Wide-Open Town maps the myriad ways in which Kansas City reflected and helped shape the narrative of a nation undergoing an epochal transformation. During the interwar period, political boss Tom Pendergast reigned, and Kansas City was said to be "wide open." Prohibition was rarely enforced, the mob was ascendant, and urban vice was rampant. But in a community divided by the hard lines of race and class, this "openness" also allowed many of the city's residents to challenge conventional social boundaries-and it is this intersection and disruption of cultural norms that interests the authors of Wide-Open Town. Writing from a variety of disciplines and viewpoints, the contributors take up topics ranging from the 1928 Republican National Convention to organizing the garment industry, from the stockyards to health care, drag shows, Thomas Hart Benton, and, of course, jazz. Their essays bring to light the diverse histories of the city-among, for instance, Mexican immigrants, African Americans, the working class, and the LGBT community before the advent of "LGBT." Wide-Open Town captures the defining moments of a society rocked by World War I, the mass migration of people of color into cities, the entrance of women into the labor force and politics, Prohibition, economic collapse, and a revolution in social mores. Revealing how these changes influenced Kansas City-and how the city responded-this volume helps us understand nothing less than how citizens of the age adapted to the rise of modern America.



  • Condition: New
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: HPB.com
  • Seller rating:
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
  • ISBN-13: 9780700627066
  • ISBN: 0700627065
  • Publication Year: 2018
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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