4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever wondered where phrases like "Drain the Swamp" and "Sewer Politics" come from? If so, then Steven W. Kraus's memoir, Checkmate, is for you. This 276-page book is a quick read and one of the most engaging works of non-fiction I have ever read. Kraus gives his readers an inside view of Ohio state politics and the corruption running rampant below the surface. After providing some brief biographical information about his upbringing and earlier life, the narrative focusses on Kraus's entrance into Ohio state politics and the legal trouble he faced and continues to face at the time of this book's publication.
Kraus began his political career with a desire to do the right thing and make a positive impact for the future of his country. When he was elected, his win upset the establishment. What followed was an intricate plot by a deeply interconnected power structure that included members of multiple branches of government. This story is true but it sounds like something out of a novel. The degree to which government officials can manipulate the system is truly mind-blowing.
Like any great work, the excellent style and flow of this book are some of the qualities that stood out to me. I found myself breezing through page after page, effortlessly maintaining my reading pace. I appreciate the author's honestly as he describes his experience and perspective. While the subject of this book revolves around the political system, the issues of corruption brought to light cross party lines and should be of concern to Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and minor party members alike. I was also impressed with how well Kraus kept political issues not directly relevant to this story out of the narrative. This tremendously increased the value of this book in my assessment because the reader does not need to hold the same political opinions as the author in order to understand and benefit from this book.
Through this book, I learned what the "swamp" is and what they are capable of doing to maintain their power. I did find the sections listing legal timeline details a bit dull to read, but those who are more knowledgeable about legal practice and court procedures may find this information valuable to understanding the case. Some readers may be annoyed by the references to Donald Trump, however, the statements referenced are relevant to the story and, at least in my opinion, did not come across as a general endorsement.
This book deserves nothing less than 4 out of 4 stars. In addition to being exceptionally well written, fascinating, and informative, the editing is nearly flawless. I found only one missing word an one tiny formatting error. I highly recommend this book to all voting citizens of the United States of America, especially those who are concerned about corruption in any level of government.
Checkmate - One Man's Fight Against Political Corruption
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