The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream, by Thomas L. Dyja. PART 2 of 2.

Nov 15, 01:00 AM


(Photo:Daley's career in politics began when he became a Democratic precinct captain; although he was a lifelong Democrat, Daley was first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives as a Republican in 1936. This was a matter of political opportunism and the peculiar setup for legislative elections in Illinois at the time, which allowed Daley to take the place on the ballot of the recently deceased Republican candidate David Shanahan. After his election, Daley quickly moved back to the Democratic side of the aisle in 1938, when he was elected to the Illinois State Senate.[7] In 1939, Illinois State Senator William "Botchy" Connors remarked "You couldn't give that guy a nickel, that's how honest he is." Daley was appointed by Governor Adlai Stevenson as head of the Illinois Department of Finance. Daley suffered his only political defeat in 1946, when he lost a bid to become Cook County sheriff. Daley then made a successful run for Cook County Clerk and held that position prior to being elected Chicago's mayor.[6] In the late 1940s, Daley became Democratic Ward Committeeman of the 11th Ward, a post he retained until his death.

11th Ward Democratic committee office, Chicago

Daley became chairman of the Central Committee of the Cook County Democratic Party, i.e. "boss" of the "political machine" in 1953.[8] Holding this position along with the mayoralty in later years enhanced Daley's power.

First elected mayor in 1955, Daley beat Robert Merriam by 708,222 votes to 581,555. Daley was re-elected to that office five times and had been mayor for 21 years at the time of his death. Through those 21 years, the Illinois license plate on his car remained "708 222".[9] During his administration, Daley ruled the city with an iron hand and dominated the political arena of the city and, to a lesser extent, that of the entire state. )

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The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream, by Thomas L. Dyja. PART 2 of 2.

Booklist*Starred Review* “Dyja contends that “Understanding America requires understanding Chicago,” and he shows why in this robust, outspoken, zestfully knowledgeable, and seductively told synthesis of biography, culture, politics, and history. Writing with velocity, wry wit, and tough lyricism in sync with Chicago’s “ballsy” spirit, Dyja focuses on the years between the Great Depression and 1960, dissecting the city’s “three most powerful ­institutions––the Cook County Democratic Party, the Catholic Church, and the Mob.” As vibrant and clarifying as his overarching vision is, what makes this such a thrilling read are Dyja’s fresh and dynamic portraits not only of the first Mayor Daley and his machine but also of key artists and innovators who embodied or amplified Chicago’s earthiness, grit, audacity, and beauty, including writers Nelson Algren and Gwendolyn Brooks, the multitalented Studs Terkel, singer Mahalia Jackson, architect Mies van der Rohe, jazz visionary Sun Ra, and Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Dyja pieces it all together, from the city’s epic political corruption, vicious racism, and ethnic enclaves to the ferment that gave rise to world-changing architecture, urban blues and gospel, McDonald’s, improv comedy, and the “birth of television.” Here is the frenetic simultaneity of an evolving city torn between its tragic crimes and failings and tensile strength and creativity.” --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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