Big Bill of Chicago

Trade Paper – $19.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2319-9
Publication Date
November 2005
Page Count
400 pages
Trim Size
6 x 8-1/2

Big Bill of Chicago

Lloyd Wendt and Herman Kogan
Winner of 2006 Illinois State Historical Society Book Award-Certificate of Excellence

To some he was a humanitarian and builder. Others scorned him as a fake and friend of gangsters with "the carcass of a rhinoceros and the brain of a baboon." This rollicking history traces the rise of William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson, Chicago's famous reform mayor, from his upper class roots to his years as a teenaged cowboy, from his fame as a star athlete to the years as a master politician in a world where the ward boss ruled and whiskey for the voters cost a quarter a shot. Big Bill of Chicago profiles the whole brawling arena of city politics from the turn of the century to the Prohibition Era. It is a primer in the way American politics worked-and works-and a map along the countless winding ways even the dirtiest deal can lead to something great.
About the Author
Lloyd Wendt was a long-time Chicago journalist and the author of Chicago Tribune: The Rise of a Great American Newspaper (Rand McNally, 1979), and (with Herman Kogan) Give the Lady What She Wants: The Story of Marshall Field & Company (And Books, 1979).

Herman Kogan (1914-1989) spent fifty years covering Chicago, many with the Chicago Sun-Times. He is the author of Yesterday's Chicago (E.A. Seemann, 1976) and (with Lloyd Wendt) Give the Lady What She Wants: The Story of Marshall Field & Company (And Books, 1979).
"Still the most authoritative, entertaining and widely read biography of William Hale Thompson, Chicago's last Republican mayor--Big Bill is a rollicking profile of a boisterous, larger-than-life persona who was 100-proof balderdash and buffoonery. "
--Richard C. Lindberg, author of Return to the Scene of the Crime: a Guide to Infamous Places in Chicago
"William Hale Thompson . . . led a disgraceful life in full public view, and Lloyd Wendt and Herman Kogan spent four years of research and writing in preparing their authentic and absorbing reconstruction of it." --Chicago Tribune