In-depth investigative report on the rise and fall of the embattled former governor of Illinois.
Chicago Tribune staff writers Coen (Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob, 2010) and Chase team up in this account of Rod Blagojevich’s attempt to sell the Senate seat once belonging to Barack Obama. Ultimately, this heavily detailed narrative serves as “a morality tale for the nation.” Blagojevich’s road to corruption began long before the 2008 election, and the authors meticulously track the future politician from his Chicago boyhood days all the way to the governor’s mansion. Blagojevich hardly had time to settle into the mansion before the media began typecasting him as an inept, hair-obsessed, comic figure—though as time soon revealed, Blagojevich’s lack of integrity was hardly the result of his hair, but rather, the big head beneath it. A man drunk on money and power—Coen and Chase report that “during his six years as governor, [he] and his wife spent $400,000 on clothes—more than they spent on their nanny,” and “$4,000 for a single custom-fitted suit, of which he bought more than a dozen a year”—Blagojevich is depicted as an affable con artist who could hardly manage his own finances, let alone those of the state. More jester than tragic hero, Blagojevich’s fall from grace confirmed what many constituents were beginning to see: He was a man so caught up in his act that he fooled even himself.
An exhaustively detailed, definitive account of one of America’s most morally reprehensible political-corruption sagas.