First biography of Mayor Richard M. Daley to be published by University of Chicago Press

September 29, 2011

(Getty/Scott Olson)

The University of Chicago Press announced Thursday that it has agreed to publish the first major biography of former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley.

First Son: The Biography of Richard M. Daley attempts to chronicle not only the recent mayor's tenure, but the rise of his family's political dynasty, including Daley's relationship with his father, the late Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley.

The author of the book is Keith Koeneman, a Lincoln Park resident and third-generation Chicagoan who studied politics and public policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Koeneman also has a law degree from Northwestern University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. First Son will be his first book.

“Koeneman understands Chicago’s politics and history, and describes the arc of Daley’s career as well as the profound differences between the First Mayor and the First Son,” says editor Robert Devens.

To date, no one has published a major biography of Daley, despite the fact that he is Chicago's longest serving mayor and held public office continuously since 1970. That's what inspired Koeneman to pursue the project.

"He is a man of many impressive accomplishments, yet he remains complex and full of contradictions - in short, the perfect subject for a biography," Koeneman said.

First Son is built on unprecedented access to key Daley insiders and confidantes, including more than 100 in-depth interviews with Daley administration officials, top advisors, friends, and Chicago’s business and cultural leaders. 

However, no members of the Daley family have participated thus far, though Koeneman continues to reach out to them. "It would be better for history, and the city they love, if they decide to participate," he said.

The book is scheduled for publication in Spring 2013.