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Fire on the Prairie: Chicago's Harold Washington and the politics of race

Rivlin, Gary

86 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0805026983 / ISBN 13: 9780805026986
Published by H. Holt, New York, 1993
Condition: Very good(+) Soft cover
From Owl & Company Bookshop (Calvello Books) (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Octavo in black wrappers; illus.; 442 pp., 23 cm.; very good copy; inscribed by author on half-title page; light edgewear and light signs of being used; still a very nice copy; wrappers are clean; pages are clean, crisp, bright and free of marks and creases; a gently used copy. In English. Very good(+) copy. Bookseller Inventory # 86409

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Fire on the Prairie: Chicago's Harold ...

Publisher: H. Holt, New York

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Very good(+)

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Owl Book edition.

About this title


Explains how Harold Washington and his associates overcame the Daley political machine and built an administration that crossed racial lines and transformed Chicago politics

From Kirkus Reviews:

A mostly admiring--though contentious, flatly written, and somewhat overlong--political biography of Harold Washington, mayor of Chicago from 1983-87. Rivlin has covered Chicago politics for the Chicago Reader and The Nation. The first half of Rivlin's account is devoted to the final years of Richard Daley's political machine and the struggle for power that followed between Daley's prot‚g‚ Jane Byrne and--by Rivlin's account--his inept son, Richard Daley, Jr. The portraits of Byrne and Daley, Jr., are anything but flattering, but Rivlin's harshest words are reserved for Washington's rival Jesse Jackson, who emerges here as egotistical and opportunistic to a fault. When Washington won the Democratic primary for mayor in 1983, Jackson jumped forward and tried to introduce Washington's victory speech; when that failed, he tried to raise Washington's arm with his own as though it had been a joint triumph. Rivlin also gives much space to black nationalist Lu Palmer, and to a Polish city council powerhouse who in Washington's first term held sway over machine- loyal aldermen and prevented Washington from accomplishing much of anything. Washington gets high marks for an almost obsessive devotion to his job, for rising above considerations of race, for providing housing initiatives, and for attempting to lift Chicago government above the Daley legacy of cronyism. But he was not always effective as an administrator, Rivlin shows, and many of his own appointments were questionable. Washington's personal life was a shambles, with a succession of girlfriends, excessive drinking, and the tendency to be late or to miss appointments altogether. White backlash and wars with the city council put him under terrible stress, and he finally fell over at his desk with a coronary just at the point, in the beginning of his second term, when he had consolidated enough power to become truly effective. Perhaps his greatest legacy is that, to a large extent, he broke Daley's machine. Uneven and often, it seems, unfair, but Rivlin's research and intimate knowledge of the principals are impressive. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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