The 4 Books Rod Blagojevich Is Reading in Prison

Surprise: He's got pretty good taste.

Earlier this week, Chicago magazine scored the first interview with former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich since he began a 14-year prison sentence for more than a dozen federal crimes.

Turns out, one of Blago’s favorite ways to pass the time in the slammer is…reading books. “Most nights, Blagojevich reads until 2 or 3 o’clock, using a tiny book light he bought at the commissary,” David Berstein writes.

And here’s another surprise: he’s actually got pretty good taste.

9780807014271_81f34Man’s Search for Meaning
By Viktor Frankl

Part memoir, part psychological treatise, Frankl’s first-person account of the Holocaust is actually one of my own favorite books. Blagojevich told Chicago magazine he’s read it three times: “Inspired by it, I began to develop ideas about what I could do in the difficult circumstances I found myself in that could help me direct my energies and efforts to use the time I had to pass in prison working toward a worthy goal. Something more than just marking time and getting through the years ahead. Viktor Frankl explained it by writing if you had a ‘why’ to live, you can find the ‘how.’ ”

41Lg9J1ApqLStrength to Love
By Martin Luther King, Jr.

In her forward, Coretta Scott King says “this book best explains the central element of Martin Luther King, Jr.’ s philosophy of nonviolence: His belief in a divine, loving presence that binds all life. That insight, luminously conveyed in this classic text, here presented in a new and attractive edition, hints at the personal transformation at the root of social justice.”

9780684826974Undaunted Courage
By Stephen Ambrose

Yeah, I’m as surprised as you about this one. It’s a 500-page doorstopper about the Lewis and Clark expedition from the author of Band of Brothers. Maybe Blago identifies with Meriwether Lewis, who historians agree was a pretty poor governor.

31DF400JYJLThe Bible
By Lots of People

Not surprising, considering it’s one of the most popular — and most available — books in prison.


Adam Morgan is the editor-in-chief of the Southern Review of Books, the founding editor of the Chicago Review of Books, and a culture critic for The Paris Review, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, AV Club, Chicago magazine, and elsewhere. He lives in Charlotte, NC.

%d bloggers like this: