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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2006

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“I am an American, Chicago born,” runs the first line of a famous novel by Saul Bellow. Anyone who knew the historian Kenneth Cmiel, who died on 4 February 2006, will recognize how this blunt affirmation of Chicago identity could serve Ken as well as it served Augie March. Not that Ken played the identity game pretentiously. A capacity to live a particular persona without being captured by it was one of his countless endearing traits. But being a Chicago person, by birth and by doctorate and by a style that never left him in Iowa City or Berkeley, meant a lot to Ken, and it gave a certain tone to his skeptical, yet sensitive, responses to the conceits and aspirations of his colleagues and friends.

© 2006 Cambridge University Press