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Wow This book was fantastic Like Nelson Algren, I think Boss should be essential reading for a life long Chicagoan I don t look at the city the same way The buildings, the city s workings, even articles in the Chicago Tribune it all looks different to me now It s a good thing, although not necessarily for Chicago. Nearly fifty years since Mike Royko published this scathing, methodical documentary of the rise and rule of Chicago s Machine and its iron fisted monarch, Richard J Daley, the book reads like a cautionary tale at the six month anniversary of Donald J Trump s reign in the White House Daley, born of working class Irish immigrants who escaped the potato famine, grew up quiet and hard working, eschewed alcohol, married another devout catholic and remained faithful to her until his death He spent two decades quietly rising to the head of the city s Democratic Party before running for mayor I approached this 80,000 word narrative with trepidation, having been accustomed to Royko s 1000 word newspaper columns I read religiously during my graduate school years in Madison, a stone s throw from Mike s beloved Chicago, which I visited often to see my best friend Daley ruled his city with an iron fist, demanding loyalty and quick to exact revenge from anyone who crossed him Royko s journalistic style drives the story forward Punctuated by scenes of police brutality, hypocrisy, and widespread corruption, the theme is complete dominance from the top Daley s ultimate Theory X management style culminated in the confrontation between 10,000 protestors and 23,000 police and guardsmen at the1968 Democratic convention I recall those few days in August watching Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather on TV and examining dozens of photographs of bloodied people taken by my friend as he roamed about dodging clubs, rocks and mace Those were turbulent times, not only in Chicago, but throughout the US While others have written about the violence in other cities, no one showed us better than Royko how the perfect storm came about in one place at one time because of one man, Richard J Daley.There are no dull moments in Boss I m surprised it was never adapted to film. I got this book out of a stack from my mom It was only after I started reading it, and was led to do some outside research that I discovered it s a classic of city journalism This hard hitting account of the reign of Mayor Richard J Daley illuminated many things about the great city of Chicago It put into perspective some of the things going on now, and made me look at our current mayor, Mayor Richard M Daley, a little skeptically It also answered some questions I d had for a long time why is Mr Luther King, Jr Drive tucked away on the South Side Interestingly, Royko notes that Richard J had positioned his sons well in politics, and the references to Richard M were especially intriguing as Royko did not know at the time that Richard M would hold the mayoral office even longer than his father.The tongue in cheek style, the biting sarcasm, with which this is written made for laugh out loud moments, and I couldn t resist reading certain paragraphs to my husband An easy read, Royko doesn t spare you the details and tells it not only like it is, but how Mayor Daley wants you to see it the disconnect is simultaneously hilarious and outlandishly horrifying Although Royko is clearly critical of the Chicago Democratic Machine, and probably didn t make any friends in the Daley family with this book, he is generous enough to point out their successes, which have only become obvious with time as cities in the Midwest rust away and face challenges that never materialized in our fair city such as a dearth of downtown residents He also credits them with preserving the lake shore for all Chicagoans, a magnificent feature of our city that pays increasing benefits with every passing year.An excellent read Highly recommended for those interested in Chicago It s true, Royko is no saint, but in his reporting about Chicago, it seems it takes one to know one My only regret is that Royko won t be around to write a similar account of our current mayor Hopefully another Chicago insider with a desire to live out their years in another country will have the guts to write The Boss Son If so, I d love to read that too. This devastating account of the first Daley regime works as a kind of history of Chicago from the fifties through the sixties I say that because Daley had a desire to have absolute control when possible and domineering influence when the previous proved difficult Its not hard to see why Daley wanted the book banned and his wife was going around vandalizing copies in book stores This is a truly damning book if ever there was one But at the heart of all the vitriol being piled on by Royko is his the reminder of the fact that people kept on electing this authoritarian virulently racist man term after term, no matter what scandals appeared, no matter how many young black men were being murdered by cops, innocent skulls bashed in, houses razed for insider development, etc, etc, etc You can level some of the blame on the machine s get out the vote patronage schemes, or Daley having all the media outlets in his back pocket the Tribune sucked back then, too , or people s fear of the cost of having to change the name of millions upon millions of placards, signs and labels that coated the entire city But at the heart of this story is a depressing realization that democracy is easily manipulated, and people will all to often vote for a choice that is in opposition to their well being.Great read though. Royko s writing style wears a bit thin at times he was a columnist for the Sun Times, and most of the book is written in that sort of punchy, jump to conclusions, one sentence paragraph style but overall this is an excellent and accessible introduction to some of the ugly political legacies and relationships that continue to define Chicago s governance The book also provided me with some provocative questions about the relationships between political power, organized labor, and equity Obviously the Machine was and is, in its current form today racist, corrupt, and brutal, and for those outside of its embrace it was a force for state neglect and violence But it was also the only way for white working class folks to make it to the top of the political power structure, and Daley poured so much into the Machine that upheld that structure in part because, without it, a guy like himself would never have become mayor Instead, he said, political power would be consolidated in the hands of the hated elite, who could finance their own campaigns and work their connections with the other super rich Which, as it turns out, was actually a pretty prescient prediction. What are the strengths and weaknesses of Boss as book On the positive side, Royko knows how to write a beautiful sentence He also knows Chicago, and captures Daley and the city at a key juncture in American urban history Moreover, Rokyo is an honest writer, which gives his words an emotional power, a resonance that lingers somewhere deep in the reader On the flip side, Rokyo may have been too close to his subject too deeply and emotionally engaged to place Daley in a broader historical perspective He sometimes fails to pull back his lens and give the reader a wide angle shot of the man s talents and the challenges he faced as mayor of a large city during a very difficult time in history.But the bottom line is that Boss is a classic, one of the great books of American literature If you have never read it, I recommend it to you If years have passed since you immersed yourself in Rokyo s Chicago, it would be well worth your time to once again read the slim volume Chicago is a much changed city since Boss was written, but Rokyo s words still carry insights into our city and politics. .DOWNLOAD KINDLE ⚇ Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago ☲ The Best Book Ever Written About An American City, By The Best Journalist Of His Time Jimmy BreslinNew Edition Of The Classic Story Of The Late Richard J Daley, Politician And Self Promoter Extraordinaire, From His Inauspicious Youth On Chicago S South Side Through His Rapid Climb To The Seat Of Power As Mayor And Boss Of The Democratic Party Machine A Bare All Account Of Daley S Cardinal Sins As Well As His Milestone Achievements, This Scathing Work By Chicago Journalist Mike Royko Brings To Life The Most Powerful Political Figure Of His Time His Laissez Faire Policy Toward Corruption, His Unique Brand Of Public Relations, And The Widespread Influence That Earned Him The Epithet Of King Maker The Politician, The Machine, The City Royko Reveals All With Witty Insight And Unwavering Honesty, In This Incredible Portrait Of The Last Of The Backroom CaesarsNew Edition Includes An Introduction In Which The Author Reflects On Daley S Death And The Future Of Chicago Mike Royko was one of Chicago s treasures Even when I lived on the West Coast and had never been to Chicago in the early 70s , I would go to DeLauer s Super Newsstand in Oakland and buy at least one Chicago Tribune per week, just to read Royko And for years, I had been meaning to read his highly critical biography of the first Daley of Chicago s prominent political machine at the time of this writing, a THIRD Daley has thrown his hat into the ring to run for Chicago mayor BOSS Richard J Daley of Chicago is both a stimulating and a depressing book It is stimulating because of its insights and little gems of history, but it s depressing because of its tell all nature Royko takes us on a hypothetical limousine ride with Daley toward the end of his reign where one sees monuments to Daley s efforts to both revitalize certain sections with certain demographics of the city while simultaneously enriching his friends For years, I ve identified the twin eggshell towers of Marina City with Chicago, but I didn t realize Charlie Swibel, the one time slumlord and friend of Daley, had constructed these towers with funding from the Janitor s Union p 14 I suppose it is to be expected in a city that has its own Director of Patronage p 22 such that Daley let civil service jobs slip back into patronage by giving tests infrequently or making them so difficult that few can pass, thus making it necessary to hire temporary employees, who stay temporary for the rest of their lives p 69 I knew about some of the scandals during the Daley administration, but I nodded my head when I read a creed alleged to Daley, Scandals aren t public scandals if you get there before your enemies do p 25 The book is full of astonishing revelations, but one could have knocked me sideways Did you know that Richard J Daley was first elected to statewide office as a Republican It was precipitated by the death of a state legislator named Shanahan Shanahan was a Republican running unopposed and the ballots were already printed So, the machine came up with a write in vote for Daley in the only space provided, under the Republican p 46 Daley s fans will be glad to know that he didn t even last out the first hour in Springfield as a Republican, moving to the Democratic side on the first day.When Daley was running for re election after fulfilling none of his promises with regard to the neighborhoods, national magazines and local newspapers focused on his revitalizing of the Loop As Royko put it, The propaganda was being poured as thickly as the overpriced highway concrete p 104 Royko also recounted the story of the incompetent fire commissioner who celebrated the 1959 Chicago White Sox World Series victory by turning on the city s entire civil defense siren system Since no one knew this was merely happening to celebrate the victory, widespread panic ensued p 116.But what I remember most clearly about Chicago during the Daley administration was seeing video of the events surrounding the 1968 Democratic Convention The video was bad enough, but the material that was suppressed was sickening Royko recounts the near police riot prior to the convention p 124 Indeed, the police brutality associated with the convention was nearly as severe as the violence perpetrated on civil rights demonstrators As Royko noted, If the Negro was equal in the eyes of the law, the men wearing badges needed glasses p 138 And to all these atrocities, Daley gave denials until the news footage shined the light on his face At that point, Daley insisted that he had special information which, strangely, the FBI didn t have that the demonstrators were planning to assassinate the three main Democratic contenders for the nomination, as well as many leaders including himself p 191 Even though this was as bogus as the rud plan to lace the Chicago water supply with LSD, Daley told this lie on television.Despite some of the heavy police baton swinging, Royko listed some lighter moments when he quoted Daley s former press secretary, Earl Bush, who contended, It was damn bad reporting, he said, They should have printed what he meant, not what he said p 169 But Royko says that printing what he meant would have been difficult with statements like, Today the real problem is the future Or he said, I don t see any serious division in our country than we had in the Civil War and at other times both on p 169 Or maybe one could consider the almost Freudian attitude to a poor neighborhood, We want to make Austin in the future what it has always been in the past p 170 Late in the book, though, Royko lays out a horrendous injustice the raid on the Black Panthers apartment in 1969 The police claimed that they shot up the apartment because the Panthers had been firing out at them Even in California, I remember hearing this story What I didn t hear was the results of an FBI investigation which found all of the bullet holes going IN rather than OUT p 211.I suppose I went into the book with a sense that there was corruption in the Daley administration, but some of the evidence cited by Royko completely unnerved me Chicago history fascinates me, but much of this history disgusted me I know Royko had an anti Daley bias, but I have seen evidence of some of what he ascribes to this era in other volumes of history related to Chicago Lose one star for bias, and BOSS Richard J Daley of Chicago is still a fascinating book. This book hit me like a ton of bricks My extended family hails from Canaryville and Bridgeport, and while I m all too aware of the racism and resistance to change that persists in those neighborhoods, I have never read something that spelled out the distinct brand of prejudice that can be found there so eloquently It all makes so much sense now And Daley s Chicago makes so much sense now Royko paints a scathing portrait of Daley through his characteristic wit The man comes across as a true egomaniac, and based on Daley s response to civil rights, liberals, and the free press, you really wonder if Trump counts Daley as one of his role models It s also crazy to hear echoes of Daley and his crew in things that are happening in Chicago this very minute Police Academy, new Sterling Bay development, and, uh, the mayoral election, to name a few There are no footnotes in this book, and it often shows But it never claims to be a comprehensive history Royko had an agenda and a perspective, and in my eyes, he nailed it.P.S I strongly recommend pairing this book with The Nix for a pretty astonishing view of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. fine fine book a testament to the shit hole racsism and crooked cops and political machine of daley s chicago facts no one brings up lester maddox and bull conner were both at the 68 chicago convention.