You read Rod Blagojevich’s own account of his governorship, in The Governor. (OK, you probably didn’t read it, because it didn’t sell many copies. But you’ve heard about it.) Now, Jeff Coen and John Chase, who covered Blagojevich’s downfall and trial for the Chicago Tribune, are coming out with their own book, Golden: How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself Out of the Governor’s Office and Into Prison.
Golden, which is scheduled for publication Oct. 1, received a starred review this week from Publisher Weekly:
Chicago Tribune reporters Coen and Chase tell of the rise and fall of Rod Blagojevich—the “amiable” and “cocksure” former governor of Illinois who tried to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat in 2008. The FBI was on to his tricks beforehand, recording him secretly when “Blago” exclaimed on tape of his legal power to name a successor: “I’ve got this thing and it’s f---ing golden,” adding, “I’m just not giving it up for f---ing nothing.” Even FBI director Robert Mueller marveled to learn “the guy dropping the F-bombs” in the tapes was the governor. After a sensational trial, Blago was convicted of fraud and extortion, with a 14-year prison sentence. Coen and Chase’s authoritative account benefits from ample public records and court transcripts. Their detailed, surreal narrative features a cast that includes Barack Obama, David (sic) Durbin, Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, Tony Rezko, and the entire Democratic establishment in Illinois and Washington, D.C. All those interested in the Blago drama or political intrigue in general can dive into this book with relish. There are heroes, too, as Coen and Chase make clear. The FBI investigation and federal prosecution demonstrated strong and reassuring internal checks against corruption inside government.
(Full Disclosure: Golden’s publisher, Chicago Review Press, also published Your Ward Blogger’s first two books, Horseplayers: Life at the Track, and The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fishermen, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists of the Great Lakes. However, they printed a number of copies of the latter with missing pages. So check your copy of Golden before you buy.)
Coen and Chase are not the first journalists to write about Blagojevich. In 2009, WTTW’s Elizabeth Brackett came out with Pay to Play: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow. However, that book only covered Blagojevich’s arrest and impeachment. If the public has any appetite left for the Blago story, Golden should fill it.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!