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Recommended Read: Chicago History, Politics and Media

By Sidney Moseley
Guardian Contributor

Six in a series highlighting the books our contributing and guest writers most enjoyed reading in 2014.

I’d like to recommend two small books by a pair of Chicago natives. Chicago has always served as a microcosm of American politics in general despite its unique status as a major metropolitan city. Chicago’s problems mirror the whole of American society’s.

bossBoss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago (originally published in 1971) is a humorous biography about the 1955-1976 Chicago mayor by the longtime political satirist and columnist for the all the great daily newspapers of the Windy City, Mike Royko. The writer’s bonafides are legion in journalism circles, as he was widely syndicated. Royko feared offending no one, not the most powerful mayor in American history; not Rupert Murdoch from whose employ he resigned, refusing to work for the now-owner of Fox News; not even the Chairman of the Board himself Frank Sinatra, who called Royko a “pimp.” For anyone with an interest in politics, Chicago or laughing out loud, Boss will be a difficult book to set aside.

rules for radicalsSaul Alinsky’s signature work, Rules for Radicals is a primer for community organizing. Published in 1971, it came along a bit too late to influence the next generation of political activists during the 1960s, but the tactics were already being used by the various protest movements at the time. Born to Jewish immigrants in Chicago, Alinsky fought against the system he found himself confronting in America during the 30s, 40s and 50s. He developed tactics that have stood the test of time and his book is interesting in the sense that it makes perfect sense. The statements are simple, succinct and, to my liking, refreshingly non-confrontational. If only Rules for Radicals had come along a decade earlier, the sixties might have been an even more progressively productive decade, but Alinsky’s masterpiece codified the movement nonetheless.

Sid’s picks are among 11 titles, any one of which new Guardian Angels may choose as our thank-you for supporting ad-free, independent journalism in 2015. You’ll also receive The Greenville Guardian: Our First Three Years, an anthology of our best work so far. Click here for details and the full list of your book choices – but don’t wait! This offer won’t last long!

Sid Moseley is a Durham native and an avid rock climber. He has lived from Atlanta to Yosemite to the California coast and back again, settling here in Greenville.

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