Pied Piper of south shore

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The first printing is sold out. To purchase second printing books please contact me at:



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PO Box 366
Medinah, IL 60157

Second printing
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"The Pied Piper of South Shore
Toys and Tragedy in Chicago"

When Manny Lazar was murdered by a gang member in 1970, he died in the place he loved best: the Wee Folks toy store that he and his wife, Belle, had run for 25 years in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago. "The Pied Piper of South Shore, Toys and Tragedy in Chicago" is the true crime story of the tragic death of this beloved retailer, told in gritty detail by his elder daughter.

It is the story of Manny and Belle, two children of immigrants, their American dream, and their richly diverse neighborhood-each falling prey to the brutality of gangs. Enhanced by her own recollections of working in her parents' store and the fond reminiscences of hundreds of customers, Caryn Lazar Amster's true tale is a heady ride from persecution in Russia to freedom in America, from Hula Hoops to gang members, from murder to trial. It is the story of loss but also of survival, even forgiveness. The story interweaves outside forces like racism, guns, drugs, gangs and the Nation of Islam that impacted this little store, the couple, and the neighborhood. It includes over 100 quotes from former customers who remember those years fondly.

This true crime book about Chicago's South Shore -- murder, gangs, toys and the Nation of Islam was written just for you!

Baby Boomers
Reminisce about the time when kids played with their toys outside all evening and front doors were never locked. You may identify with the people in this story who fought outside influences and pulled together when things got tough.

South Shoreites
Former Chicago and South Shore residents will recall fun times spent in the neighborhood and at Wee Folks. Take a walk down 79th Street again in The Street appendix chapter. Stores are remembered and merchants featured.

Joliet, Illinois Residents
Joliet, Illinois residents will share Mom's fondest memories of her youth as well as identify with the place she met and married Dad.

Antique Toy Collectors
Antique toy buffs will enjoy the Toy Stories Appendix featuring amazing stories of how many famous '50s and '60s toys were created.

True Crime Readers
If you love a good true crime story, this one takes you from murder to conviction with lots of twists and turns.

Movie Theater Buffs
Learn about South Shore's favorite movie and make-out spot, The Avalon. Depicted on the book cover, the Moorish temple design captured the hearts of everyone who entered. For those who love old movie theaters, you will enjoy the descriptions of one of Chicago's best…..the Moorish styled Avalon.

Learn how retailing was done in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Retailers will relate to the story of small business in the ‘50s and ’60s when retailing meant relationships.

History buffs will like the retelling of major stories in the '50s and '60s and how they impacted small business and the community. Learn how gangs and the Nation of Islam impacted one Chicago neighborhood.

Women's American ORT members
The book honors Women’s American ORT. Mom was an ORT President and believed in its good works. Because of Mom’s involvement in the organization in her later years, a donation from the sale of every book goes to ORT.

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Poster and special editions

The "Pied Piper of south shore" book cover

Full color lithographed posters (24” x 33”) of the book cover painted by Mitch Markovitz.
$29.95 plus $7.50 shipping

Giclee special limited (150) editions (20"x30") of the 79th Street scene without the book text - signed, numbered, certificate of authenticity.
Giclees at $450 plus shipping to be discussed with artist at time of purchase

ORIGINAL painting of the book cover (oil on canvas), 50"x33", with book title lettering - $10,000.
Email Mitch Markovitz

Personally autographed books, posters and prints make great gifts!



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