Have an interest in national and local politics? Co-authors Michael C. Dorf and George Van Dusen join us to discuss and sign copies of their new book, Clear It With Sid: Sidney R. Rates and Fifty Years of Presidents, Pragmatism, and Public Service. Both men worked with Congressman Sid Yates earlier in their careers and are well-situated to give an in-depth look at this master of post-World War II politics. This event is free and open to the public. We ask that you buy your copy of Clear It With Sid from The Book Stall if you enter the book-signing queue.
The son of a Lithuanian blacksmith, Sidney R. Yates rose to the pinnacle of Washington power and influence. As chair of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, Yates was a preeminent national figure involved in issues that ranged from the environment and Native American rights to Israel and support for the arts. Speaker Tip O'Neill relied on the savvy Chicagoan in the trenches and advised anyone with controversial legislation to first "clear it with Sid!" Michael C. Dorf and George Van Dusen draw on scores of interviews and unprecedented access to private papers to illuminate the life of an Illinois political icon. Wise, energetic, charismatic, petty, stubborn--Sid Yates presented a complicated character to constituents and colleagues alike. Yet his get-it-done approach to legislation allowed him to bridge partisan divides in the often-polarized House of Representatives. Following Yates from the campaign trail to the negotiating table to the House floor, Dorf and Van Dusen offer a rich portrait of a dealmaker extraordinaire and tireless patriot on a fifty-year journey through postwar American politics.
Praise for the book:
"Sid Yates and I represented neighboring Congressional districts during 19 of his 48 years in the House of Representatives. "Clear It With Sid!" captures the Sid Yates I knew, and provides facts and insights that I never expected. We were on opposite sides of the aisle and Dorf and Van Dusen demonstrate how Sid's civility, bipartisanship, and legislative acumen enabled him to work with Republicans, pass legislation, and get things done. In particular, the authors' description of the politics of the Appropriations Committee, on which we both served, is a must read for anyone interested in the way Congress really works." -- Former Representative John Porter (R. IL)
"Michael Dorf and George Van Dusen weave together the fascinating life of my friend, Sid Yates, an insight into the cutthroat Chicago party politics of Sid's career and the best analysis of the bare knuckles, behind-the-scene battle Sid waged to save the National Endowment for the Arts ever written. When you read this book you will learn of a day when one of Illinois' most principled and skillful public servants made history in the halls of Congress. Near the end of his life Sid joked with me about old age. He said: 'First the knees go. Then the nouns go. Then you go.' Sid is gone but for those who read this exceptional book he will not be forgotten." --Senator Dick Durbin
About the Authors:
Michael C. Dorf is a practicing lawyer and an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was Congressman Yates's Special Counsel in Washington and remained his lawyer and campaign chairman until the congressman's death.
George Van Dusen is currently the Mayor of Skokie, IL and has lived there with his wife, Susan, for 44 years. The Mayor earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Detroit and both a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. from Loyola University. He served as a Trustee in the Village of Skokie from 1984 until he was appointed Mayor in January 1999. While a Trustee, he served as the Village’s delegate to the Northwest Municipal Conference (NWMC) and, in 2007, served as NWMC President. He is currently Chairman of the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, and is a member of several government related boards. Mayor Van Dusen was the Director of Suburban Operations for U.S. Congressman Sidney Yates from 1973 until the Congressman’s retirement in 1999. He is an adjunct faculty member of Oakton Community College, teaching U.S. History and Government. Van Dusen is the author of two books, Clear It with Sid! Sidney R. Yates and Fifty Years of Presidents, Pragmatism, and Public Service (2019) and The Detroit Tigers Encyclopedia (2002).
The son of a Lithuanian blacksmith, Sidney R. Yates rose to the pinnacle of Washington power and influence. As chair of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, Yates was a preeminent national figure involved in issues that ranged from the environment and Native American rights to Israel and support for the arts.