Scoundrels or visionary leaders? Two top political writers add perspective to the most recent administrations in this third edition of the 1988 classic.
SPRINGFIELD – Center Publications at the University of Illinois at Springfield has released the third edition of The Illinois Governors: Mostly Good and Competent, a collection of biographies of the state's 40 governors.
This latest edition has been updated to include analysis of former Gov. George Ryan's and current Gov. Rod Blagojevich's terms of office in new chapters by noted political writer Taylor Pensoneau.
The original book, published in 1988 and written by the late newspaper reporter and historian Robert Howard, was titled The Illinois Governors: Mostly Good and Competent Men. Peggy Boyer Long, third edition editor, noted that the title was revised in anticipation that one day Illinois might have a female governor. Said Boyer Long, "Howard designed his book to explain who the governors were and how they responded to the challenges of leadership. Our aim in the third edition was to accomplish that as well, but in addition we provide greater context and highlight a few of the people and events that fill out the portrait of each governor's era." Many photos and images were added to illustrate historic events.
The authors suggest that Illinois' governors have represented a cross section of the political ideas and social attitudes of their times. Both the good and the bad are recounted; the introduction notes that the state's top office has occasionally been filled by honorable statesmen as well as "chairwarmers and crooks."
In the newest chapters, Pensoneau chronicles Ryan as "the ultimate insider" with "the political savvy to accomplish much during his one term as governor" and Blagojevich as having an "earthy, even glib" style that "resonated with voters, but aroused resentment among legislators and other officials."
As a Statehouse reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Pensoneau covered five Illinois governors, including Richard Ogilvie and Dan Walker. Boyer Long recently retired as editor of Illinois Issues, the state's leading public affairs magazine. She updated Howard's original chapter on Gov. James R. Thompson and wrote the section on Gov. Jim Edgar for the second edition of Mostly Good and Competent. As a reporter based in the Statehouse, she covered three governors: Walker, Thompson, and Edgar.
Center Publications is a unit of the Center for State Policy and Leadership at UIS.
The Illinois Governors: Mostly Good and Competent is available from Center Publications at 217/206-6502, or online at http://cspl.uis.edu/centerpublications. The cost is $34.95 plus shipping and handling.
The Illinois Governors: Mostly Good and Competent by Robert Howard
Revised and updated by Taylor Pensoneau and Peggy Boyer Long
$34.95, plus shipping & handling
Paperback, 386 pages, 124 photos/illustrations
Published by Center Publications/Illinois Issues
Center for State Policy and Leadership
One University Plaza, MS HRB 10
University of Illinois at Springfield
Springfield, IL 62703-5407
On line: http://cspl.uis.edu/centerpublications