ABOUT THIS BOOK
Winner of 2006 Illinois State Historical Society Book Award-Certificate of Excellence
To some he was a humanitarian and builder. Others scorned him as a fake and friend of gangsters with "the carcass of a rhinoceros and the brain of a baboon." This rollicking history traces the rise of William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson, Chicago's famous reform mayor, from his upper class roots to his years as a teenaged cowboy, from his fame as a star athlete to the years as a master politician in a world where the ward boss ruled and whiskey for the voters cost a quarter a shot. Big Bill of Chicago profiles the whole brawling arena of city politics from the turn of the century to the Prohibition Era. It is a primer in the way American politics worked-and works-and a map along the countless winding ways even the dirtiest deal can lead to something great.