How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself out of the Governor's Office and into Prison
By Jeff Coen, By John Chase


496 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25

Formats: EPUB, Cloth, PDF, Mobipocket, Trade Paper

Cloth, $27.95 (US $27.95) (CA $30.95)

ISBN 9781569763391

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Sep 2012)


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An enlightening foray into mind-boggling government corruption
No one did political corruption quite like Rod Blagojevich. The 40th governor of Illinois made international headlines in 2008 when he was roused from his bed and arrested by the FBI at his Chicago home. He was accused of running the state government as a criminal racket and, most shockingly, caught on tape trying to barter away President-elect Barack Obama’s US Senate seat. Most politicians would hunker down, stay quiet, and fight the federal case against them. But as he had done for years, Rod Blagojevich proved he was no ordinary politician. Instead, he fueled the headlines, proclaiming his innocence on seemingly every national talk show and street corner he could find. Revealing evidence from the investigation never before made public, Golden is the most complete telling yet of the Blagojevich story, written by two Chicago reporters who covered every step of his rise and fall and spent years sifting through evidence, compiling documents, and conducting more than a hundred interviews with those who have known Blagojevich from his childhood to his time in the governor’s office. Dispensing with sensationalism to present the facts about one of the nation’s most notorious politicians, the authors detail the mechanics of the corruption that brought the governor down and profile a fascinating and frustrating character who embodies much of what is wrong with modern politics. With Blagojevich now serving 14 years in prison, the time has come for the last word on who Blagojevich was, how he was elected, how he got himself into trouble, and how the feds took him down.


"Through indefatigable reporting and deft writing, [Chase and Coen] take us into a fascinating, Byzantine world of Chicago politics and power that largely goes unseen."  —David Mendell, author of Obama: From Promise to Power

"This is a lively, intimate primer on the bad and the ugly of Chicago and Illinois politics that reads like a novel by reporter-authors who were there from Blagojevich's promising beginning to humiliating end."  —Jim Nowlan, senior fellow at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs

"Golden is the definitive book on former governor Rod Blagojevich. The saga of his life and two trials provide a road map to the highest levels of corruption in Illinois. This cautionary tale leaves us with the task of ending the corrupt political culture that made his crooked wheeling and dealing possible."  —Dick Simpson, University of Illinois political science professor and former Chicago alderman

"[A] definitive account of one of America's most morally reprehensible political-corruption sagas."  —Kirkus Reviews

"All those interested in the Blago drama or political intrigue in general can dive into this book with relish."  —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[The authors]offer a nuanced context of political corruption overlaid with Blagojevich's extraordinarily flamboyant personality, from the profanity to the hair obsession and outsized ego." — Booklist

"Golden tells the story of Blagojevich's downfall with admirable detail, although it can be a slog at times." — Illinois Issues magazine

"'s a crackerjack book that will have you shaking your head with wonder at every turn of a page."—Daily Times

Author Biography

Jeff Coen is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, covering federal trials and investigations at both Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building and the federal courthouse. He is the author of Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois. John Chase is also a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, covering state and local politics. He covered Blagojevich from the start of his first campaign for governor and pushed the newspaper’s further investigations into the former governor's tactics. He lives in Chicago.