I bought this book for a buck at some book fair this year. I don’t think I’ve read any Mike Royko since high school. Many people of Internet age won’t know who Royko is, as they’re steeped in Internet stars like James Lileks, Mark Steyn, Andrew Sullivan, and whatnot. The era of the mega columnist, with a string of syndication papers and inane commentary, left behind those like Royko, who seemed more of a Metro columnist than a humorist or a commentariat.
I mean, who does this any more? Here in St. Louis, there’s Bill McClellan and the black guy. I don’t know if either of them has written a book, but I tell you something, in 20 years, I won’t have ever gotten a copy and I won’t read it with pleasure.
Sure, Royko is what some would call a bleeding heart. But it’s a very communitarian liberalism. He came from humble origins and kept the blue collar edge in his writing. I can sympathize with blue collar origins in a rust belt city. So although he obviously doesn’t like Ronald Reagan, he doesn’t alienate readers who perhaps don’t.
This was Royko’s last collection published in his lifetime. Man, if I had known that would have read this with a sad, sepia overtone.
Recommend it? Yes. Read more Royko. He’s amusing, short, and often right even when he’s left.