Generally, local poltics are not my primary interest but for Rezko Watch readers outside of Illinois who are interested in the background of Chicago’s unique brand of politics, they might want to check out the following sources:
American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley – His Battle for Chicago and the Nation by Adam Cohen, Elizabeth Taylor
An excellent, highly detailed, social and political history both of the city of Chicago as well as the rise to power of the first, legendary, Mayor Daley, and his iron fisted rule over the Democratic Machine. The Shakman Decrees have changed he rules of the game in the city of Chicago but the current Mayor, Richard M. Daley has adapted and is, in some ways, even more powerful than his larger than life father.
This book is a shorter but far more colorful and grittier read. Penned by the late Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko, it is filled with a cast of infamous Chicago characters such as Ed Kelly, Tony Accardo, Paddy Bauler, Cardinal Cody, William Dawson, John D’ Arco, Tom Keane, Charlie Swibel, Benjamin Adamowski and Saul Alinsky. Incidentally, Mayor Daley reportedly hated Royko for writing this book.
One of Chicago’s great writers, as well as a friend of Royko’s, Algren painted a bitter picture of the Machine at the zenith of it’s power and corruption.
For contemporary coverage of the underworld of Chicago politics, I recommend former City Hall beat reporter turned columnist for The Chicago Tribune, John Kass. Kass is well versed in the current array of ward heelers, mobbed-up businessmen, buffoonish aldermen, ex-gangster disciples, crooked cops, shadowy fixers and Outfit soldiers under the latest Federal investigations (it’s a lot to keep track of).
” Chicago ain’t ready for reform!” – Alderman Paddy Bauler, 1955.