The acclaimed author of There Are No Children Here takes us into the heart of Chicago by introducing us to some of the city' s most interesting, if not always celebrated, people. Chicago is one of America' s most iconic, historic, and fascinating cities, as well as a major travel destination. For Alex Kotlowitz, an accidental Chicagoan, it is the perfect perch from which to peer into America' s heart. It' s a place, as one historian has said, of " messy vitalities, " a stew of contradictions: coarse yet gentle, idealistic yet restrained, grappling with its promise, alternately sure and unsure of itself. Chicago, like America, is a kind of refuge for outsiders. It' s probably why Alex Kotlowitz found comfort there. He' s drawn to people on the outside who are trying to clean up-- or at least make sense of-- the mess on the inside. Perspective doesn' t come easy if you' re standing in the center. As with There Are No Children Here, Never a City So Real is not so much a tour of a place as a chronicle of its soul, its lifeblood. It is a tour of the people of Chicago, who have been the author' s guides into this city' s-- and in a broader sense, this country' s-- heart.