Fire on the Prairie by Gary Rivlin

Gary Rivlin was the Reader‘s City Hall reporter during the Washington administration, and while other beat writers, especially at the dailies, were turning their stories over to whatever the Eddie Vrdolyak/Ed Burke 29 wanted to get in print, Rivlin had it right and accurate from the get-go. His infamous quote of alderman Dick Mell saying the council was rejecting federal grants specifically to sabotage Washington and make him a one-term mayor did as much to turn the tide as the ward remap that shifted the council majority. As such, when Rivlin sat down to write the book on Washington, he had the story straight, and it still reads as a better, more honest look at Chicago’s first African-American mayor than insider accounts by, say, Alton Miller. —Ted Cox