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Four Books To Help You Master Chicago Politics

Richard J. Daley served as the mayor and Democratic Party boss of Chicago for more than two decades, from 1955 to 1976. His son, Richard M. Daley, served as mayor from 1989 to 2011. <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/05/13/136240147/in-chicago-a-political-dynasty-nears-its-end">Click here for more on the Daley dynasty.</a>
Richard J. Daley served as the mayor and Democratic Party boss of Chicago for more than two decades, from 1955 to 1976. His son, Richard M. Daley, served as mayor from 1989 to 2011. <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/05/13/136240147/in-chicago-a-political-dynasty-nears-its-end">Click here for more on the Daley dynasty.</a>

The term "Chicago politics" gets bandied about whenever people complain about what they see as corruption and abuse of power.

Republicans often apply the concept to President Obama, who calls Chicago home. Earlier this year, presidential candidate Mitt Romney called one of the president's appointments "Chicago-style politics at its worst," and Illinois Republican Aaron Schock once described Obama's team as "the Chicago machine apparatus."

But what does that mean? And what are Chicago politics really like?

NPR's Steve Inskeep takes a closer look with Ann Marie Lipinski, former editor of The Chicago Tribune; Frank James of NPR's It's All Politics blog, who spent years as a reporter in the city; and NPR's Scott Simon, former Chicago bureau chief for NPR. They discuss four influential books that examine the city's hardball approach to politics through various lenses.

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