The newspaper columnist Mike Royko wrote this detailed portrait of Mayor Richard J. Daley, the head of the 1960s Democratic machine in Chicago, in 1971. I can’t remember when or where I first acquired it, but at some point I lost my copy. Then my wife found another one buried on a bookshelf at her mother’s house. I’m glad she did. The book is part indictment, part admiring profile, of the mayor and the corrupt city that raised him and how it all spun out of control with the police brutality against protesters at the 1968 Democratic Convention. Here’s a description of the notoriously corrupt Police Department of the Daley era:
Not everybody was on the take. There were honest policemen. You could find them working in the crime laboratory, the radio lab, in desk jobs in headquarters. There were college-educated policemen, and you could find them working with juveniles. There were even rebelliously honest policemen, who might blow the whistle on the dishonest ones. You could find them walking a patrol along the edge of a cemetery. The honest policemen were distinguished by their rank, which was seldom above patrolman. They were problems, square pegs in round holes. Nobody wanted to work in a traffic car with an honest partner. He was useless on a vice detail because he might start arresting gamblers or hookers. So the honest ones were isolated and did the nonprofitable jobs. It had to be so, because a few good apples in the barrel could ruin the thousands of rotten ones.
[Originally posted on my discontinued This Old Book Tumblr.]