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Zenith City: Stories from Duluth


Zenith City: Stories from Duluth Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Duluth may be the city of “untold delights” as lampooned in a Kentucky congressman’s speech in 1871. Or it may be portrayed by a joke in Woody Allen’s film Manhattan. Or then again, it may be the “Zenith City of the unsalted seas” celebrated by Dr. Thomas Preston Foster, founder of the city’s first newspaper. But whatever else it may be, this city of granite hills, foghorns, and gritty history, the last stop on the shipping lanes of the Great Lakes, is undeniably a city with character—and characters. Duluth native Michael Fedo captures these characters through the happy-go-melancholy lens nurtured by the people and landscape of his youth. In Zenith City Fedo brings it back home. Framed by his reflections on Duluth’s colorful—and occasionally very dark—history and its famous visitors, such as Sinclair Lewis, Joe DiMaggio, and Bob Dylan, his memories make the city as real as the boy next door but with a better story.

Here, among the graceful, poignant, and often hilarious remembered moments—pranks played on a severe teacher, the family’s unlikely mob connections, a rare childhood affliction—are the coordinates of Duluth’s larger landscape: the diners and supper clubs, the baseball teams, radio days, and the smelt-fishing rites of spring. Woven through these tales of Duluth are Fedo’s curious, instructive, and ultimately deeply moving stories about becoming a writer, from the guidance of an English teacher to the fourteen-year-old reporter’s interview with Louis Armstrong to his absorption in the events that would culminate in his provocative and influential book The Lynchings in Duluth.

These are the sorts of essays—personal, cultural, and historical, at once regional and far-reaching—that together create a picture of people in a place as rich in history and anecdote as Duluth and of the forces that forever bind them together.

About the Author

Michael Fedo, Minnesota stringer for the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor from 1970 to 1985, is the author of many books, including The Lynchings in Duluth, The Man from Lake Wobegon, the novel Indians in the Arborvitae, One Shining Season, and A Sawdust Heart: My Vaudeville Life in Medicine and Tent Shows, by Henry Wood as told to Michael Fedo (Minnesota, 2011).

Table of Contents



This Is Duluth!

Miss Weddel and the Rats

The Roomer

School Days

The Voice

Beware the Ides of March

He Believed Writers Are Made, Not Born

Sinclair Lewis’s Duluth

Diners, Dives, No Drive-ins

Thou Shalt Not Shine

Dad’s Legacy

My Father and the Mobster

A Family Informed by Pyloric Stenosis

The Unmaking of a Missionary

The Hill

Discovering Rita

The Grand Piano Smelt

Cousin Jean

Uncle See-See’s Secret?

Radio Days

The Tree

Keep Your Eyes Open

Baseball Days

Joe DiMaggio Turns His Lonely Eyes toward the Girl at 2833 West Third Street

Jogging with James Joyce

At the Flame

For a Moment Dylan Played in Our Shadow

Christmas with the Klines

Remembering Satchmo


Brotherhood Week in Duluth

A Life Informed by a Lynching


Publication History

Product Details

Fedo, Michael
University of Minnesota Press
Fedo, Michael
United States - State & Local
World History-General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
8.5 x 5.5 x 1 in

Related Subjects

Biography » Literary
History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Zenith City: Stories from Duluth New Trade Paper
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Product details 216 pages University of Minnesota Press - English 9780816691104 Reviews:
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