A collection of books that cover of ecology, history, and human actions within Chicago and the Great Lakes region
A collection of books that cover ecology, history, and human actions within Chicago and the Great Lakes region.

Recommended Books

Many historians and scholars have written about the history of Chicago from various perspectives. Here are a few options if you’re looking for recommendations.

Environmental History of Chicago

Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West

William Cronon

Considered by many as the authoritative book on Chicago’s relationship with the environment and it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. This book covers the economic and ecological perspective of Chicago and the surrounding hinterland.


City of Lake and Prairie: Chicago’s Environmental History

William C. Barnett, Kathleen A. Brosnan, and Ann Durkin Keating


A Natural History of the Chicago Region

Joel Greenberg


Chicago History

City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America

Donald L. Miller


Packing Them In: An Archaeology of Environmental Racism in Chicago, 1865-1954

Sylvia Hood Washington


The Tunnel Under the Lake: The Engineering Marvel That Saved Chicago

Benjamin Sells


Liquid Capital: Making the Chicago Waterfront

Joshua A. T. Salzmann


Great Lakes

Death and Life of the Great Lakes

Dan Egan


Great Lakes Water Wars

Peter Annin


The Late, Great Lakes: An Environmental History

William Ashworth


The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region

Wayne Grady


The Women’s Great Lakes Reader

Victoria Brehm


Other Recommendations

City Water, City Life: Water and the Infrastructure of Ideas in Urbanizing Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago

Carl S. Smith