James L. Merriner

After writing five books about political corruption in Chicago, the state of Illinois, and Washington, D.C., I turned my talents to historical fiction. Stumbling in the Public Square, my first novel, explores how people got caught up in public corruption during the early years of Prohibition. My protagonist, Roxy Stinson (a historical figure), is a pioneering feminist—as is her sometimes adversary, First Lady Florence Harding. The title, by the way, is taken from Isaiah 59:14.

The novelist Harry Ringel wrote that “James L. Merriner blends investigative journalism and historical fiction into a page-turner . . . It is the presences lurking in the shadows of [Warren G. Harding’s] administration that make this novel so compelling a read.” Readers apparently agree, for the novel has gotten none but five-star reviews so far on Amazon.com. Stumbling in the Public Square is published by Auctus Publishers.

Now an independent writer and editor, I covered presidential politics as political editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Atlanta Constitution. I have served as the James Thurber Writer in Residence at the Ohio State University and as president of the Society of Midland Authors. Also, I have written a chapbook, Regrets and Consolations, and published poems in various journals.

A few snippets from reviews of my earlier books:

The Man Who Emptied Death Row: Governor George Ryan and the Politics of Crime. “A gripping factual account,” former Illinois Governor Dan Walker.

Grafters and Goo Goos: Corruption and Reform in Chicago, 1833-2003. “Merriner is a wonderful writer whose seamless prose moves the story along,” Chicago historian Richard Lindberg.

Mr. Chairman: Power in Dan Rostenkowski’s America. “[M]andatory reading for anyone interested in contemporary American politics,” Journal of American History.

Against Long Odds: Citizens Who Challenge Congressional Incumbents (with Dr. Thomas P. Senter). “A carefully documented indictment of the incumbent protection machine . . . judiciously written,” John Fund, The Wall Street Journal.

The City Club of Chicago: A Centennial History. “Thoroughly researched, scrupulously fair and accurate, and engagingly written,” Dr. Paul M. Green, Roosevelt University.