Category Archives: author commentary

When Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock announced he’d be resigning from the U.S. Congress it was seen by many as yet another example of the state’s seamy political underbelly. As detailed in Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism and Criminality, Aaron Schock is not … Continue reading

Political corruption isn’t just about under-the-table dealings. A major factor that contributes to a system that many see as broken in the state of Illinois and throughout the country is a culture of patronage that, although obfuscated, is perfectly legal. … Continue reading

Digital Depression author Dan Schiller is a professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In light of the recent FCC ruling on net neutrality, Schiller weighs … Continue reading

Food historian and travel writer Cynthia Clampitt recently answered some questions about her book Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland. Q: What was the importance of corn to Native Americas before European contact? Cynthia Clampitt: To a certain … Continue reading

When aviation pioneer Octave Chanute died in 1910, no one could have dreamed that man would not only conquer the air, but venture into outer space. Five years after Chanute’s death the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or NACA, was … Continue reading

“Back then farming was people,” says Alan Guebert. Guebert has written about agribusiness issues in “The Farm and Food File” since 1993. But the syndicated columnist notes that he would always get the greatest reader response from the times he’d … Continue reading

Gary B. Reid’s introduction to the Stanley Brothers was a used record he picked up for 33 cents in 1973. That modest investment launched Reid on an odyssey that would culminate in “what just might be the definitive history of … Continue reading

Vanessa Pérez Rosario is an associate professor of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at City University of New York, Brooklyn College, and the editor of Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement. She recently answered some questions about her … Continue reading

Laurent Pernot is the executive vice chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. Pernot came to the U.S. as a Chicago-area foreign-exchange student in 1988 and caught ’89 Cubs playoff fever. He answered some questions about his book Before the Ivy: The … Continue reading

Authors Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson document many colorful and dubious characters in their book Corrupt Illinois. An example (on page 1 of the book, even) would be former Illinois Secretary of State Paul Powell, who left nearly a … Continue reading