The news came as Gutierrez, one of the House's most vocal firebrands, has announced his retirement. Garcia, a Cook County Board commissioner, lost in a rare run-off race for Chicago mayor to Rahm Emanuel, and the behind the scenes of that campaign are detailed in the recently published and fascinating Nothin's on the Square by Mike Houlihan.
Rick Kogan, the Tribune and WGN radio's man about town, called the book "A
deep dive into the wicked and wacky world of Chicago politics with a man who knows the score. An incisive, rollicking and intimate trip."
I've read it and Kogan nails it. It'll make a great Christmas gift for Chicagophiles who relish such good reads as the iconic Lords of the Levee (Incidentally co-authored by Rick's father, Herman Kogan).
Jim Strong, a former Chicago Tribune reporter who knows something about Chicago said in the book's forward:
Gone are the days of iron rule by the Irish. Focus is on the grim fight for Chicago's City Hall in 2015, matching well-heeled liberals behind incumbent Rahm Emanuel and an underfunded Hispanic from the political left, Jesus "Chuy"Garcia. Houlihan tells of a scheme to cash in on a hopeless campaign that turns into a deep personal affection for the candidate.
Houlihan, who signs on as a Garcia campaign consultant, conducts a guided tour of Chicago's Southwest Side, a bastion of political families (mostly Democratic) and Irish culture. Here are the hangouts, bars, schools (nota bene St. Rita High School) and, of course, the community's iconic St. Patrick's Day parade. Here, also, is a clash of the community's charms and foibles, typified by Southwest Sider Houlihan himself, with the limousine liberals--typically progressive North Siders--who struggle to guide an underfunded, out-manned campaign to victory.
Houlihan is a former features columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the
Irish-American News. He is an actor, author, radio personality, Irish travel guide and chairman of Hibernia Transmedia, a public charity to Irish and Irish American culture. His monologue, "Going East on Ashland" was a six-year hit Chicago theater hit. Among his favorite Chicago commandments are "Only suckers beef" and "Never make bail under a viaduct." If you enjoyed John Powers, another "Sout'" Side author, you'll like Nothin's.
- Sunday, Dec. 10, right after mass. Gaelic Park, 6119 West 147th Street, Oak Forest, From 10:45 a.m. to noon
- Sunday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Reilly’s Daughter Irish Pub, 4010 W. 111 Street, Oak Lawn
- Sunday, Dec. 17 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., The Curragh Traditional Irish Pub, 6705 North Northwest Hwy, Chicago
Among my assorted freelance writing and editing activities is reviewing independently published books for BlueInk Review. You might be surprised how good some self-published books are. Or how bad others are.