Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 15:47.

This is not a summer reading list but a list of reading for anyone who wants to know more about Cleveland, its people - the good and bad - and its history.


Some may want to add to this list. Please feel free with your comments.




My Story, autobiography of Tom Johnson, 1901 progressive mayor of Cleveland.


Confessions of a Reformer by Frederick C. Howe, part of the Johnson era.


The Silent Syndicate by Hank Messick – on Cleveland organized crime.


Promises of Power by Carl Stokes about his political life.


Shoot-out in Cleveland by Louis Masotti (on 1968 Glenville riot/rebellion).


Mobbed Up by James Neff (on Jackie Presser and Teamsters).


City Beat also by James Neff (Columns on Cleveland from his Plain Dealer days).


They Call it a Game by Bernie Parrish (former Browns football player but Cleveland Browns & Art Modell stuff in it).


Black Victory by Kenneth Weinberg (On Stokes first election victory).


Blacktown, U. S. A. by Frank Keegan (CSU) (Chapters on African-Americans, including a number of Clevelanders).


Rebuilding Cleveland by Diana Tittle (on Cleveland Foundation & “evolving urban strategy.”)


Cleveland – The Best Kept Secret by George Condon.


The Making of a Man - an autobiography of Lewis Robinson (history of black civil rights/nationalism in 1960s)


Cleveland – Confused City on a Seesaw – a look at the city over a period with emphasis on 1960-70s by Phillip Porter (former exec editor of PD).


Illuminating Company by various people and likely only available in library – put out by conglomeration of people in 1968 or so and critical of various establishment institutions.


Checkmate in Cleveland by Estelle Zannes (CSU)  - Covers Stokes era more or less from anti-Stokes perspective.


The Courage to Survive, an autobiography of the early life of Dennis Kucinich.


Newhouse by Thomas Maier – a book about the family that owns the Plain Dealer


( categories: )

Jim Neff, in an e-mail,

Jim Neff, in an e-mail, reminds me of a third book by him -The Wrong Man about the Sam Sheppard case but including chicanery in news media and political world. "Work I'm most proud of," he writes.

cleveland books

Some of these are available at Scriptoria Books 2716 W. 14th Lots of copies of the Illuminating Company, one of the Sam Sheppard book, copies of Randy's book etc. Michael O'Brien (my spouse) says that he has quite a bit that is on the list.

How that for a plug.


cleveland papers

The title  is The Cleveland Papers. This was done by "The Illuminating Company, a Cleveland Research Group". Inside is the list of the radicals, including Roldo, and Barbara Ehrenreich who was in Cleveland doing the project as an intern.

The first paragraph of the introduction is:

"This booklet is for those who can look around Cleveland and see that things are terribly wrong. It is for those who are bewildered in their daily lives and long to understand what forces are at work shaping their destiny and long to control the course their lives will take."

How far have we not come in the 39 years since this was written.


Another Cleveland book to consider is: 


Krumholz, Norman and John Forester, with a foreword by Alan A. Altshuler 
This covers the period of Cleveland during Stokes, Perk and Kucinich.

Cleveland READS

  Thanks Roldo--I will get the links up to the closest library soon.  Really great suggestions.  Here is one suggestion made earlier:

Democratizing Cleveland : the rise and fall of community organizing in Cleveland, Ohio, 1975-1985

Author: Publisher: Edition/Format:
Randy Cunningham
Cleveland, Ohio : Arambala Press, ©2007.
Book : English


East Cleveland Lead Poisoning Report

Laura, could you do a search for a book on lead poisoning in East Cleveland from the 1970s - before lead paint was outlawed. It was by a Cleveland State student and was published by the university, I believe. I took it out from either Case of Cleveland libraries (do they share the same catalog?).

It shows how core our problems are and how little we were able to learn and transform, over three decades.

Disrupt IT

Ohiolink, Worldcat, Clevnet, CCPL

  I could only find this title:

A lead-based paint survey and program recommendations for East Cleveland, Ohio, 1973

CSU holds the title--it's a reference use only in the library.  Perhaps, Case had a copy at one time.

I'm sorry I missed Randy

I'm sorry I missed Randy Cunningham's book. Thanks for making that important addition.

Having lots of copies of

Having lots of copies of the Illuminating Company surprises me.

I thought for sure it might even be difficult to get them at a library.

Thanks for that info, husband or not.



Roldo: How do these Cleveland books rate?

Dear Roldo:

How do these volumes rate in your view?:


The crisis of growth politics : Cleveland, Kucinich, and the challenge of urban populism / Todd Swanstrom. 1985
Who governs? in Cleveland : an analysis of pluralism during the Kucinich administration / Marc Freedman. 1982
The turbulent spirit : Cleveland, Ohio, and its workers, 1877-1899 / Leslie S. Hough. 1991
The Battle of Cleveland : public interest challenges corporate power / edited by Dan Marschall, with the assistance of the Ohio Public Interest Campaign. 
Washington, D. C : Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies, 1979.
Checkmate in Cleveland : the rhetoric of confrontation during the Stokes years / Estelle Zannes ; assisted by Mary Jean Thomas. Cleveland : Press of Case Western Reserve University, 1972.
Black victory : Carl Stokes and the winning of Cleveland / by Kenneth G. Weinberg. 
Chicago : Quadrangle Books, 1968.
The Making of a mayor : a political narrative / by James M. Naughton, Michael D. Roberts, William C. Barnard. Cleveland, Ohio : Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine, 1967
Carl B. Stokes and the rise of Black political power / Leonard N. Moore. 
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c2002.
Seven making history : a mayoral retrospective. Cleveland, Ohio : League of Women Voters of Cleveland : Western Reserve Historical Society, c1990.


Good additions, Lee. We're

Good additions, Lee. We're creating a Cleveland library.

If we're going to include articles, I'd have to suggest at least one of mine, "Who Really Governs - 25 Years of Cleveland Mayors. It's available on the Cleveland State University Memory site here:

 This is a wonderful list.

 This is a wonderful list. Thank you