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Heroic and the Notorious

Heroic and the Notorious

U.S. Senators from Illinois

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David Kenney and Robert E. Hartley


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About the Book

This sweeping survey constitutes the first comprehensive treatment of the men and women who have been chosen to represent Illinois in the United States Senate from 1818 to the present day. David Kenney and Robert E. Hartley underscore nearly two centuries of Illinois history with these biographical and political portraits, compiling an incomparably rich resource for students, scholars, teachers, journalists, historians, politicians, and any Illinoisan interested in the state’s senatorial heritage.

Originally published as An Uncertain Tradition: U.S. Senators From Illinois 1818–2003, this second edition brings readers up to date with new material on Paul Simon, Richard Durbin, and Peter Fitzgerald, as well as completely new sections on Roland Burris, Barack Obama, and Illinois’s newest senator, Mark Kirk. This fresh and careful study of the shifting set of political issues Illinois’s senators encountered over time is illuminated by the lives of participants in the politics of choice and service in the Senate. Kenney and Hartley offer incisive commentary on the quality of Senate service in each case, as well as timeline graphs relating to the succession of individuals in each of the two sequences of service, the geographical distribution of senators within the state, and the variations in party voting for Senate candidates. Rigorously documented and supremely readable, this convenient reference volume is enhanced by portraits of many of the senators.


David Kenney served in the cabinet of Illinois Governor James Thompson and is a professor emeritus of political science at SIUC. His books include A Political Passage: The Career of Stratton of Illinois and (with Robert E. Hartley) Death Underground: The Centralia and West Frankfort Mine Disasters (both published by SIU Press).
Robert E. Hartley is the author of a number of books for SIU Press, including Paul Powell of Illinois: A Lifelong Democrat and Paul Simon: The Political Journey of an Illinois Original. He was a journalist for Lindsay-Schaub Newspapers in Illinois from 1962 to 1979 and also served as executive editor of the Toledo Blade and as publisher of the Journal-American in Bellevue, Washington.