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The World of Mike Royko

by Doug Moe

  • ISBN: 9780299165406
  • ISBN10: 029916540X

The World of Mike Royko

by Doug Moe

  • List Price: $9.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780299165406
  • ISBN10: 029916540X
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Description: Pull up a stool, tap a beer, and immerse yourself in the world of one of the twentieth century's most celebrated journalists. This abundantly illustrated biography is the first account of the colorful life of newspaperman Mike Royko, the Pulitzer prize-winning columnist who personified Chicago in all its rough-edged charm, yet whose talent was appreciated by readers around the world.

In columns for the Chicago Daily News, then the Chicago Sun-Times, and finally the Chicago Tribune, Royko's biting wit was syndicated in more than 600 newspapers, and he was courted and feared by national political figures. He was even the inspiration for the John Belushi role in the film Continental Divide. But Royko's beginnings could not have been more humble. Raised in a flat above a tavern on Chicago's Polish Northwest Side, Royko -- like the marvelous character he created in his columns, Slats Grobnik -- was a street-smart wiseguy, tending bar though barely a teen.

Drawing on exclusive photos, letters, and interviews with Royko's family and friends, author Doug Moe, himself a daily newspaper columnist, chronicles Royko's remarkable rise to prominence. Seemingly destined for jail or the morgue, the young Royko enlisted in the air force and found his calling after lying his way into a job on the base newspaper. The blunt humor that was his sword as a writer was evident early, but readers will also meet another Royko, a sensitive and often insecure man who wrote more than 100 letters home to the sweetheart he would later marry, who loved classical music as well as neighborhood bars, and who was devastated by his first wife's death but made the most of his second chance at marriage andfatherhood.

Royko honed his knowledge of Chicago politics as a reporter for the legendary City News Bureau before meeting the grueling challenge of a daily newspaper column. In 8,000 columns spanning thirty-four years, Royko's most frequent subject was Chicago's rambunctious politics. His book Boss, a best-selling expose on Mayor Richard J. Daley and his political machine, appeared in 1971. But Royko, who some said "wrote with his fists", also sparred with U.S. presidents, bureaucrats and stuffed shirts, Frank Sinatra, and proponents of political correctness and nouvelle cuisine. He also praised and celebrated barbecued ribs and Chicago softball, the fierce talent of Nelson Algren, the rich variety of Chicago's neighborhoods, and the quiet dignity of ordinary people up against it.

The millions of readers who have missed Royko since his death in 1997 are in for a rare treat, for in The World of Mike Royko he lives again.

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