The Gambler King of Clark Street: Michael C. Mcdonald and the Rise of Chicago's Democratic Machine

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-06-12
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois Univ Pr
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The Gambler King of Clark Street: Michael C. McDonald and the Rise of Chicago's Democratic Machinetells the story of a larger-than-life figure who fused Chicago's criminal underworld with the city's political and commercial spheres to create an urban machine built on graft, bribery, and intimidation. In this first ever biography of McDonald, author Richard C. Lindberg vividly paints the life of the Democratic kingmaker against the wider backdrop of nineteenth-century Chicago crime and politics. Twenty-five years before Al Capone's birth, Michael McDonald was building the foundations of the modern Chicago Democratic machine. By marshaling control of and suborning a complex web of precinct workers, ward and county bosses, justices of the peace, police captains, contractors, suppliers, and spoils-men, the undisputed master of the gambling syndicates could elect mayoral candidates, finagle key appointments for political operatives willing to carry out his mandates, and coerce law enforcement and the judiciary. The resulting machine was dedicated to the supremacy of the city's gambling, vice, and liquor rackets during the waning years of the Gilded Age. McDonald was warmly welcomed into the White House by two sitting presidents who recognized him for what he was: the reigning "boss" of Chicago. In a colorful and often riotous life, McDonald seemed to control everything around himeverything that is, except events in his personal life. His first wife, the fiery Mary Noonan McDonald, ran off with a Catholic priest. The second, Dora Feldman, twenty-five years his junior, murdered her teenaged lover in a sensational 1907 scandal that broke Mike's heart and drove him to an early grave. Michael McDonald's name has long been cited in the published work of city historians, members of academia, and the press as the principal architect of a unified criminal enterprise that reached into the corridors of power in Chicago, Cook County, the state of Illinois, and all the way to the Oval Office.The Gambler King of Clark Streetis both a major addition to Chicago's historical literature and a revealing biography of a powerful and troubled man.

Author Biography

Richard C. Lindberg is a journalist, research historian, and author or coauthor of twelve books, including Shattered Sense of Innocence: The 1955 Murders of Three Chicago Children and To Serve and Collect: Chicago Politics and Police Corruption from the Lager Beer Riot to the Summerdale Scandal, 1855–1960. He is a past president of the Illinois Academy of Criminology and the Society of Midland Authors and a recipient of the Frederic Milton Thrasher Award for Excellence in Research and Reportage for his work on Chicago organized crime and street gangs.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: The Dark City on the Edge of Civilizationp. 1
A Train Butcher Raising the Windp. 8
Brace Games and Bunko Menp. 20
A Department Store of Gamblingp. 34
Tammany by the Lakep. 54
The People's Party and the Overturn of Puritan Rulep. 65
Bummers, Gutter-Rats, Whiskey Soakers, and Saloon Loafersp. 75
The City Hall Swindlep. 88
Our Carterp. 99
Oyster on the Half Shellp. 112
Boodle for the Gangp. 121
Is He Not a Typical Democraft?p. 136
A Flighty and Excitable Womanp. 144
Bribing the Gray Wolves for an "Upstairs" Railroadp. 152
The Garfield Park Racetrack Warp. 165
Electing Altgeldp. 175
That Little Feldman Girlp. 190
Pearls before Swine: Poetry, Murder, and the McDonaldsp. 203
Betrayal and Deathp. 216
Postscriptp. 225
Epilogue: A Legacy of Corruptionp. 232
Organized Gambling in Chicago during the Reign of Mike McDonald, 1868-1888p. 239
Organized Gambling and Horse Racing Poolrooms in Chicago, Post-McDonald Period, 1889-1900p. 244
Notesp. 253
Bibliographyp. 277
Indexp. 283
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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