What is a summary of The Third Coast by Thomas Dyja?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title of author Thomas Dyja's book The Third Coast consists of an informal term used to speak of any coastal region other than the West Coast and East Coast of the United States. Since coastal regions play a significant role in development and economic prosperity, the term the "third coast" implies that the US possesses an additional coast that has played a key role in the country's development. In The Third Coast, author Dyja asserts that Chicago, situated near the Great Lakes region, played a key role in our nation's development, as stated in his thesis:

The American way of life in the postwar world was a product of Chicago, from the steel in its new Miesian skyscrapers to its sacks of golden crispy McDonald's French fries. The city was navigating the transformation of the cultural ideal of the common man into a national mass-marketing strategy.

Dyja sets out to prove his thesis by pointing out the number of industry leaders who have lived in and developed Chicago. For example, he points to Louis Henry Sullivan as being the "father of skyscrapers" and creating the first steel high-rise buildings in Chicago. In addition, Ray Kroc started the fast-food industry by launching McDonald's in Chicago. He further points to other aspects of American culture as developing in Chicago, such as Playboy, rock n' roll music, and innovative radio programs. Throughout the book, Dyja details the history of Chicago, beginning after World War II, to show how significantly Chicago influenced American culture.