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The Chicago Books & More

Earlier works from Lake Claremont Press & Chicago Review Press plus anthologies featuring contributions from Arnie Bernstein.


The Blues Brothers. Within Our Gates. Hoop Dreams. The Gore-Gore Girls. The Dark Knight. Call Northside 777. His New Job. My Best Friend's Wedding. The Fugitive. Medium Cool. They are all pieces in Chicago's rich film history.


From alleyways to the lakefront, from the El tracks to suburban streets, Chicago is a sprawling backlot of cinematic creativity and stories. See the Windy City like you've never seen it before—both on screen and on the set—in the first book ever to chronicle the engaging history of Chicago and the movies.


Hollywood on Lake Michigan earned praise from both American Cinematographer and The Hollywood Reporter. Published by Chicago Review Press, Hollywood on Lake Michigan was a 2014 selection by Illinois Reads, a statewide festival and reading programing showcasing Illinois authors. The first edition was honored as the first place winner in the Midwest Division from the American Regional History Awards. (Chicago Review Press, 2014. First edition, Lake Claremont Press, 1999)

Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100+ Years of Chicago and the Movies

The second edition of this popular Windy City history, co-authored with local raconteur Michael Corcoran.

From the earliest film studios, when one out of every five movies was made in Chicago, to today's thriving independent film scene, the Windy City has been at the forefront of American moviemaking.


Take a unique trip through Chicago and with Chicagoans through a century of filmmaking. Exclusive interviews with directors, actors, writers, and other film professionals; visits to movie locations and historical sites; and fascinating tales from the silent era are all a part of this spirited and definitive look at our location on the lake.


“A must read for local movie buffs.” Chicago Sun Times

“Film lovers and Windy City fans will cherish this updated guide.”



"Movie nuts, feel free to rejoice.”

Chicago Tribune

The Website of Michael Corcoran

Co-Author of 

Hollywood on Lake Michigan, 2nd Edition

"The Movies Are": Carl Sandburg's Film Reviews & Essays, 1920-1928."


"The cold, real, upstanding fact holds—the movies are." Carl Sandburg

Chicago Daily News

December 18, 1926


Take a new look at one of Hollywood's most exciting periods through the critical perspective of one of America's greatest writers. A passionate film advocate, Sandburg early on grasped and delighted in the many possibilities for the new motion picture medium, be they creative, humanitarian, or technological; intellectual, low-brow, or merely novel. In doing so, he began defining the scope and sophistication of future film criticism. (Lake Claremont Press, 2000)


Read the introduction The Movies Are 

by Roger Ebert

Pulitzer Prize winning film critic and

Winner of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award


"Bernstein's historical commentary about Sandburg's film writing is a welcome addition to Sandburg scholarship. Bernstein does a nice job relating Sandburg's early film reviews to his later involvement in the film industry, particularly with George Steven's The Greatest Story Ever Told. As an editor, Bernstein is intimately aware of the depth and intricacy of Sandburg's film writing in an way reserved for someone who has ardently and obsessively pursued his subject. Roger Ebert's introduction adds a personal twist to his understanding of Carl Sandburg and offers an initial credibility to a collection that eventually builds its own integrity through its own intelligent and pleasantly presented content."

Carl Sandburg Historic Site Association

The Hoofs and Guns of the Storm: Chicago's Civil War Connections


Foreword by the late US Senator from Illinois, Paul Simon

While America's Civil War was fought on Confederate battlefields, Chicago played a crucial role in the Union's struggle toward victory. The Hoofs and Guns of the Storm takes you through a whirlwind of 19th century events that created the foundation for modern-day Chicago. (Lake Claremont Press, 2003)

Critical Praise


  • The role Chicago played in Abraham Lincoln's unlikely bid for the Presidency

  • Mary Todd Lincoln's trials and tribulations after her husband's assassination

  • The hell on earth for six thousand Confederate prisoners that was Camp Douglas, a P.O.W. prison just south of the city

  • The Sanitary Fair and the women behind the war efforts

  • How Chicago's Union Blue was streaked with hints of Confederate Gray

  • Abolition leaders and the Underground Railroad

  • John Wilkes Booth's acclaimed performances at the McVicker's Theater, and what this vainglorious actor and future assassin had to say about Lincoln in 1863


And so much more

"Arnie Bernstein gives us not only the Civil War connections, but unexpected insights into that most bloody of our wars from a Chicago perspective... Readers...will be enriched, understanding a little better where we have been and where we must go."


U.S. Senator Paul Simon

From his foreword

"(W)ritten by someone who has a wealth of local knowledge about its links to the Civil War...fascinating insight into the local history of Chicago."

Rees Taylor

The American Civil War Roundtable, UK

"Arnie Bernstein's lively look at the links between Chicago and the Civil War is a vivid reminder of how that titanic strugle over slavery and the meaning of freedom affected-and continues to affect-all Americans, living everywhere."

Geoffrey C. Ward Co-writer of the PBS series "The Civil War" and companion book The Civil War: An Illustrated History


"(A) lively, intelligent, and comprehensive guide to Civil War and Lincoln sites. Arnie Bernstein's collection is well researched, organized, and written. The result is a useful guidebook that will help Chicagoans and their many guests appreciate more deeply the Windy City's links to an important era in our national history."

Jean H. Baker Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography



The World Film Locations series, published by Intellect Books, UK, explores cities around the world through the movies. Each volume highlights films and filmmakers associated with the title metropolis. I contributed to two of these highly-acclaimed books, including an essay in the Chicago book on the silent era African American director Oscar Micheaux (2013, edited by Scott Jordan Harris).

For the Boston volume, I looked at the eclectic portraits of Beantown in The Last Detail, Shutter Island, and Ted. (2014, edited by Marcelline Block)



Inspired by the classic Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, The Des Plaines River Anthology gives voice to those buried in the many necropolises located in Forest Park, IL. The area is filled with historical graveyards, home to the final restings places of both the renowned and the forgotten. Chicago area writers contibuted prose poems in the style of Masters's Anthology pieces, including stories of the Haymarket Martyrs, anarchist leader Emma Goldman, evangelist Billy Sunday, and film mogul Michael Todd. I penned the story of Louis Borodkin, my great-grandfather, who was a founder and now resident of the Jewish P.O.W. cemetery on Roosevelt Road. (Published by the Historical Society of Forest Park, IL, in association with Allium Press, 2013)

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