Feathered Quill Book Awards Judges' Comments
"This is a cool subject. Every time you pick up a historical and/or anthology about Chicago, 90% of the time it’s about the mob. Such a nice change to see something different about Chicago’s history...I didn’t expect to enjoy this book but I was amazed how pulled into the subject I was - kudos for that...Covers front/back get perfect scores - great historical photos that add to the time in history perfectly...The research for this book was well done. The author did his job perfectly and he should be applauded."
Alan Bacon, Rollarena Skating Center, Richland, WA
"Impactful writing characterizes Tom Russo’s newly released book, Chicago Rink Rats: The Roller Capital in Its Heyday. Depicting another lively moment, Russo writes of a speed race: “The starter gun went off as six speedsters sprinted from the starting line at the scheduled time of 10:00 p.m. central standard time.” To add even more drama, Russo intersperses updates and news from the war front to orient the reader to the historical context. For example, one paragraph ends with a description of basic forward skating, and the next paragraph seamlessly begins: “The balance of power of the war was shifting in favor of the Allies."
Sandra Levin, Orbit Skate Center, Palatine, IL
"My personal experience with Tom Russo was speaking with him in front of the museum display at Orbit Skate Center that features skates, plates, wheels, skate cases, apparel, stickers and other memorabilia that has been displayed in the cabinet for many years. Tom expressed an interest in a large photo of the 202nd Armory in Chicago that operated during WW2. The Armory is now a photo in the book that depicts a huge space with lots of people in suits and long dresses along with a wedding that happened in the rink back in 1938. You just never know who you will meet at a roller rink and our friendship developed as I listened to his stories and experienced his excitement about his upcoming book."
Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2018
"Tom Russo didn’t set out to write the book on the roller skating history of Chicago that turned into a new museum exhibit on the same nostalgia-drenched, organ music-backed topic. He just wanted his aging mother to tell her great-grandchildren about her youth during the war years, and a great part of that youth was spent at Chicago roller rinks — as was the case for many of the young people in the city and the region, apparently."