Bio’s of Dan Walker, Otto Kerner, Paul Simon, Adali Stevenson, William Straton, Richard Ogilvie, Richard J. Daley, Paul Powell. All give a good flavor of IL politics from the 1950’s to end of the 1970’s. “Mostly Good and Competent Men”, a review of Illinois’ Governors up through Thompson. New Bio on Russel Arington. Someone needs to do a Bio on Thompson’s era. Rich needs to write one on Madigan, Rock, Pate, and Emil. One more book, City of the Century along with the PBS series. Movies - Godfather, Northside 777 with Jimmy Stewart has some great footage of the inside of the Capitol in the 1930’s or 1940’s. The son of the police officer killed in the movie served in the House in the 1970’s.”
Mr. Chairman: Power in Dan Rostenkowski’s America.
Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1833-2003.
The Man Who Emptied Death Row: Gov. George Ryan and the Politics of Crime (forthcoming).
I concur with American Pharoah, another is “The Wicked City: Chicago from Kenna to Capone” by Curt Johnson and R. Crain Sautter, which provides background info on how Chicago is the way it is and then there’s “When Corruption was King” by Robert Cooley and Hillel Levin. I tend to ignore Cooley’s self-aggrandizement, but the look behind the scenes from that era is fascinating. It has good notes too and references “Greylord” by Tuohy and Warden, which has now joined my reading list.
Nonfiction:American Pharoah is an excellent nominee - its definitely the best of many books about the late Mayor Daley.
Allen Drury’s, Advice and Consent might be instrictive in terms of working with a hostile legislature.
Fiction: All the King’s Men is definitely the greatest political novel of all time. The Governor’s poltical career showed a lot of promise, but like Huey Long’s career, appears to be destined to end tragically - either by indictment or ignominious political defeat in the next gubernatorial primary.
The Governor might Find Jerry Brown’s life story interesting, given that Brown has managed to resurrect his political career, by reincarnating himself as Mayor of Oakland.
But hands down. no contest, the best book the Governor and his staff needed to read and never did: Taegan Goddard’s practical primer on governing: We Won, Now What?
(I gave this book to Dan Hynes shortly after he was elected Comptroller. But Dan probably didn’t need to read this book because he definitely understands governing instinctively.)
Currents of Power (http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?isbn=0-595-18518-5), by Claude Walker, Pat Quinn’s former communications director, is spot on. Plus it is fun to match up the novel’s cast with their real-life counterparts.
- Sen. Jeff Schoenberg - Monday, Jul 30, 07 @ 11:49 am:
Agree with those who picked Royko’s “Boss” and Taylor’s “American Pharoah”, but don’t overlook “Don’t Make No Waves, Don’t Back No Losers” and “We Don’t Want Nobody Nobody Sent” by the late Prof. Milt Rakove.
I agree with Levois that Dempsey Travis’s book is a very enjoyable and seminal book about black politics in Chicago. Not sure how this book would help our Governor - he’s already popular in the African American community - but at this point not many other people like him.
I guess Senator Schoenberg is suggesting that Rod has “made lots of waves” without many results. and “backed some losers”in terms of his legislative proposals. “Somebody sent me,” but I still never got a chance with the Blago administration,despite an excellent graduate education and a wide range of relevant experience. (Rakove’s books are classic slices of Chicago political Americana)
Jeff - please go get Senator Jones and the budget whipped into shape. Julie really needs your help on the mass transit bill.
while it is about a corporate take over of Kraft, the underlying story is one of corruption/entitlement/excess and those in power fighting to hold on to their largess.
- the Other Anonymous - Monday, Jul 30, 07 @ 1:09 pm:
The two essentials for understanding Springfield are Redfield’s “Lawmaking in Illinois” and Nowland and Gove’s book on Illinois politics from the University of Nebraska Press series on state politics. (The series, while incomplete, is excellent as a whole — my first reference when I work outside of Illinois.)
And I would also suggest Godfathers I and II; not so much Godfather III, since we don’t have anyone seeking redemption under the dome.
“All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren is still the best book about politics of any kind ever written. If you can find it, get the re-edition published after the author’s death. It applies to Illinois politics just as well as Louisiana. Same principles– or lack thereof.
There was a paperback with “Fly on the Wall” in its title that I read in the 1970’s. It seemed that the reporter who wrote it had spent some time in Springfield, as well as at least one other state capitol. If I could find it, I would read it again.
Not so sure about Claude Walker’s “Currents of Power” (Writers Club Press, 2001). It kind of goes over the top. E.g.,
“‘J.J. Springfield’s Daily Bulletin,’ the daily fax and e-mail communique . . . was must-reading for public officials, reporters, lobbyists, grapevine shakers and political junkies across the state, despite its pricey subscription. Everybody read JJ.”
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Somewhere in a dark corner is a photo of the real Rod R. Blago, bald, wrinkled, plague-ridden, toothless and he will get more so as he becomes more and more corrupt.