Against Fairness ?
by Stephen T. Asma?
Chicago, 224 pages, $22.50

Stephen Asma buries in the endnotes of Against Fairness the information that he is from Chicago, but I think it ought to be mentioned up front. His book is a counterintuitive defense of favoritism, nepotism, tribalism, and patronage, and no place in America clung to these outdated habits longer than the Windy City. Decades after historical forces had planted the kiss of death on Tammany Hall and all the other famous urban political machines, Chicago was still the town of “We don’t want nobody nobody sent,” and while the rest of the country considered the Cook County machine a national disgrace, native Chicagoans have always worn their city’s distinctive political culture as a badge of pride, corruption and all.

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