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Maverick and the Machine

Maverick and the Machine

Governor Dan Walker Tells His Story

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Dan Walker


E-book (Other formats: Trade Cloth)
6 x 9, 30 illustrations


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About the Book

A reformer who was always colorful, provocative, and controversial, Dan Walker became a political maverick, taking on Mayor Richard J. Daley’s vaunted Chicago machine and the powerful incumbent Richard Ogilvie to become the governor of Illinois. The Maverick and the Machine tells the dramatic story of Walker’s rise from dirt-poor beginnings to the pinnacle of power in Illinois and his conviction on charges of bank fraud that landed him in federal prison. This frank volume also probes the inner sanctum of the governorship and reviews the investigations of Governor Blagojevich’s administration and the criminal trial of former governor George Ryan.
Best Memoir of 2008, San Diego Book Awards
Illinois State Historical Society Certificate of Excellence, 2008


Dan Walker (1922-2015), a naval officer during World War II and the Korean War, worked in Chicago as a trial lawyer and business executive before serving as governor of Illinois from 1973 to 1977.


“We joke readily about the governors, politicians, and public figures who have been sent to jail or narrowly averted that fate, and it is easy to consign Dan Walker to the simple category of crook. He did indeed break the law and rightly went to jail for it, but his memoir reminds us that his life and career were about much more than that. Both the achievements and failures of that life and career need to be understood and taken into account in any fair-minded appraisal of the man, and this work, most assuredly, makes an important contribution to that understanding.”—Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

“I've known other Illinois governors during the past fifty years, and none of them has written anything as self-revealing as The Maverick and the Machine. Former governor Walker bares his soul, extolling his virtues and confessing his weaknesses while laying out in vivid detail stages of a life with little parallel.”
Taylor Pensoneau, coauthor of Dan Walker: The Glory and the Tragedy

A story with a certain Greek tragedy to it, The Maverick and the Machine offers a rare insight into the inner workings of Illinois politics and government. If this were a script for a made-for-television movie, it would be improbable. The story, however, is all too real.”—John S. Jackson, former chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale and visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute