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Support Rogers Park Writers this Holiday Season

Posted on November 29, 2010

1. The Wagon, by Martin Prieb

Martin has been a police officer in the 24th District for many years, which has provided him with a vibrant and chilling landscape on which to master his other craft, of being a writer. (The Wagon refers to the vehicle he was assigned to man in his first assignment as a police officer - to pick up and transport dead bodies to the morgue.)

Check out this review from Publishers Weekly:

In this reflective essay collection, writer and police officer Prieb recounts, at the age of 40, a life of honest work and literary aspiration in Chicago. The title refers to the police wagon that hauls bodies to the city morgue, a shift he worked as part of his rookie indoctrination, leading naturally to contemplation of death and life in the city. Verging on the self-conscious, Prieb nonetheless renders a variety of very personal city stories with gritty, hands-on honesty and poetic insight; Prieb explains to his partner how writers like Whitman and Melville used “their dark labor”-serving in field hospitals and on whaling ships-as a “means of seeing clearly,” forcing them “to acknowledge things as they were.” Ultimately, he argues, it’s “better to be annihilated by something compelling than to be self-satisfied.” Prieb’s interaction with gang members is fascinating, and he showcases the softer side of a veteran cop in a lovely nursing home vignette. Appealing and strange, this is a fine meditation on life in and of the big city.

Available on Amazon.

2. A recently released book by a Rogers Park author, Edward McClelland, is called Young Mr. Obama. The Publisher’s catalogue copy states:

How the rough-and-tumble reality of Chicago taught a brilliant but callow young African American politician the lessons that launched him on the road to history.

Barack Obama’s inspirational politics and personal mythology have overshadowed his fascinating history. Young Mr. Obama gives us the missing chapter: the portrait of the politician as a young leader, often too ambitious for his own good, but still equipped with a rare ability to inspire change. The route to the White House began on the streets of Chicago’s South Side.
Edward McClelland, a veteran Chicago journalist, tells the real story of the first black president’s political education in the capital of the African American political community. Obama’s touch wasn’t always golden, and the unflappable and charismatic campaigner we know today nearly derailed his political career with a disastrous run for Congress in 2000.
Obama learned from his mistakes, and rebuilt his public persona. Young Mr. Obama is a masterpiece of political reporting, peeling away the audacity, the T-shirts, and the inspiring speeches to craft acompelling and surprisingly readable account of how local politics shaped a national leader.
Available on Amazon.

3. Finally, long term Rogers Park resident (and 49th ward aldermanic candidate in the last election, and present day Northwestern professor), Don Gordon, recently self published a guide to being engaged in our political process, entitled Piss ‘Em All Off.

What this book is about:

If you’re tired of getting screwed over by a government that’s out of touch, weary of corrupt and incompetent politicians who seem to only make things worse and frustrated by a political system that often works only for the well-connected, then this book is for you.

Our American democracy is failing and it’s you and I who are responsible - not self-serving politicians, not all the money that pours into campaigns, not even inept government employees. Only we can make a difference and only if we take the time to do what is necessary. This book examines in detail the five practices of being an effective citizen, showing that they are simple, require little of our time, and make a dramatic difference in how government responds.

This is not another one of those lengthy research tomes on the intricacies of what’s wrong with our democracy, while detailing every boring statistic to prove the case.  Rather, in a concise and pragmatic approach, the author explores how to become an informed citizen, be a community activist, work a political campaign, perform the responsibility of voting, and run for office. None of these practices are intuitive, so what we need is a guide that explores these practices in order to engage current and future generations in our democracy. This is that guide.

Who is the author?

Don Gordon is an adjunct lecturer in political science at Northwestern University and has taught economics at the Keller Graduate School of Management. Lifelong Chicago residents, he and his wife, Bonnie, have raised their daughters, Meghan and Shanna, in the city’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Gordon has been a community activist there for over twenty-five years and recently ran for alderman in his ward (49th). His interest in politics began as a volunteer in Senator Robert Kennedy’s abbreviated campaign for president in 1968. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Loyola University (Chicago) and a master’s in project management from Keller GSM, but likes to remind everyone that he also has a “PhD” (Paid his Dues) from years as a community activist inside the beast of Chicago politics.

Don’s book should be available on Amazon, B&N and Borders in early to mid December. Two local indie’s carry it in their store:

Women and Children First
5233 N. Clark
Chicago IL 60640

1854 W. North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

Attention Local Artists:

In the coming weeks our website will feature great gift ideas from other local Rogers Park artists. Contact us if you are a Rogers Park artist with great gift ideas for the community. Email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and be sure to include a description and/or a photo of what they can buy, along with information about how someone can purchase from you.

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