Fire on the Prairie

Harold Washington, Chicago Politics, and the Roots of the Obama Presidency

by

Series: Urban Life, Landscape and Policy

Harold Washington’s historic and improbable victory over the vaunted Chicago political machine shook up American politics. The election of the enigmatic yet engaging Washington led to his serving five tumultuous years as the city’s first black mayor. He fashioned an uneasy but potent multiracial coalition that today still stands as a model for political change.

In this revised edition of Fire on the Prairie, acclaimed reporter Gary Rivlin chronicles Washington’s legacy—a tale rich in character and intrigue. He reveals the cronyism of Daley’s government and Washington’s rivalry with Jesse Jackson. Rivlin also shows how Washington’s success inspired a young community organizer named Barack Obama to turn to the electoral arena as a vehicle for change. While the story of a single city, , this political biography is anything but parochial.

About The Author

Gary Rivlin is the author of five books, including Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. – How the Working Poor Became Big Business, and a former staff reporter for the New York Times, where his beats included Silicon Valley and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Wired, and Fortune, among other publications, and also the Chicago Reader, where he worked as a staff writer during the Harold Washington years.