The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition taps America’s most qualified observers to scrupulously assess the city’s mayors within the vigorous and tumultuous history of Chicago government. This revised and updated edition features extensive commentary on the enduring mayoral influence of Richard M. Daley.
In the seventeen years since The Mayors was first published,” editors Paul M. Green and Melvin G. Holli write in the Preface to this edition, Chicago politics has become more genteel, more docile, and more predictable. This dampening of the city’s once red-hot political coals is due to domination by one man: Mayor Richard M. Daley.” Also providing a political roadmap through the complex and fascinating labyrinth of Chicago politics are essays on other recent mayors: Richard J. Daley, Michael A. Bilandic, Jane M. Byrne, and Harold Washington.
Green and Holli’s popular study maintains that the key to the mayor’s office is power: the power to reward and the power to punish that comes with occupying the fifth floor of city hall in Chicago. Beginning with Joseph Medill, the Tribune publisher who guided the city in its rise from the ashes after the Great Fire of 1871, The Mayors takes readers through the terms of some of the city’s most colorful leaders: from the progressive Carter Harrison II and the radical Edward F. Dunne to the politically reticent Fred A. Busse and the loudmouth Big Bill Thompson. The essays collectively tell a riveting story of structures wherein aggressive power brokers surmount even massive corruption and scandal, and those who fail to seize the office’s inherent authority have short, uncomfortable tenures.
In addition to Green and Holli, contributors include David L. Protess, Edward R. Kantowicz, John D. Buenker, Maureen A. Flanagan, Douglas Bukowski, John R. Schmidt, Roger Biles, Arnold R. Hirsch, William J. Grimshaw, Monroe Anderson, Steve Neal, Steve Rhodes, and Laura S. Washington.