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Author James L. Merriner
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The Man Who Emptied Death Row: Governor George Ryan and the Politics of Crime
(from the Elmer H. Johnson & Carol Holmes Johnson series in criminology)
Southern Illinois University Press, 2008.

The Man Who Emptied Death Row is a gripping factual account of real-life crime in government. James Merriner tells in graphic and readable detail why Illinois is number one in the nation in bipartisan corruption.—former Illinois Governor Dan Walker

Political junkies from all philosophical and political backgrounds will gobble up The Man Who Emptied Death Row. James L. Merriner analyzes George H. Ryan, the person and the politician, revealing names, dates, places, and issues surrounding Ryan's career and the legal battle that ended his lifetime in politics.—Dr. Paul M. Green, Roosevelt University


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Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1833-2003
Southern Illinois University Press, 2004 (paperback edition, 2008).

Merriner, former political editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, traces the ongoing struggle to its nineteenth-century roots and argues that it is less about heroes and villains than it is about conflicting class, ethnic, and religious values.—Harvard Magazine

When Merriner delves into the characters engaged in corruption and in driving reform ,his history sings.—Chicago Sun-Times

This book is a bit more about corruption than reform, but then so is Chicago. That's what makes this book so absorbing.—Booklist

Merriner has accomplished well-nigh the impossible with his richly woven tapestry of anecdotal material supported by colorful quotes [and] insightful observations . . . Merriner is a wonderful writer whose seamless prose moves the story along.— historian Richard C. Lindberg


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Mr. Chairman: Power in Dan Rostenkowski's America
Southern Illinois University Press, 1999 (paperback edition, 2002).

Merriner, a political journalist with impressive instincts and experience, clearly understands both the nation's capital and big-city political machines . . . a tough, unsentimental . . . expose of a political system gone haywire in the hands of leaders far more obsessed with their own power and gain than with principles of public service . . . This worthwhile book is mandatory reading for anyone interested in contemporary American politics.—Journal of American History

Reading Mr. Merriner's rollicking account is what I imagine it would be like to be a guest at a Polish-American picnic in Chicago, being regaled by stories—some admiring, some damning—about Big Joe Rusty's cocky kid.—Washington Times

[A] vivid portrait of Rostenkowski as a larger than life figure . . . [an] extensive examination of Chicago politics in the 20th century.—Chicago Tribune

[Merriner] details Rostenkowski's crimes and leaves no doubt that many serious misdeeds were at stake, not just the usual congressional corruption of favors-for-donations that Rostenkowski dealt with on an everyday basis at Ways and Means.—Chicago Sun-Times


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Against Long Odds: Citizens Who Challenge Congressional Incumbents, with Dr. Thomas P. Senter.
Praeger Publishers, 1999.

[A] carefully documented indictment of the incumbent protection machine . . . carefully and judiciously written . . . carries heft and weight.—John Fund, Wall Street Journal



The City Club of Chicago: A Centennial History
City Club, 2003.

Thoroughly researched, scrupulously fair and accurate, and engagingly written. . . . a solid contribution to the literature of Chicago history.—Jay D. Doherty, City Club president, and Dr. Paul M. Green, Roosevelt University

Available from info@cityclub-chicago.com, 312-565-6500, or City Club of Chicago, 360 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 903, Chicago, IL 60601.



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All contents copyright © James L. Merriner.