Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Steve Neal  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: Born:1950 in Coos Bay, Oregon

Died: February 18, 2004 in Hinsdale, Illinois

-- Steve Neal on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

*A longtime political columnist for the ''Chicago Sun Times''

Biographical and Professional Information

Neal was a world-renowned journalist and political historian. He has been a political columnist for the ''Chicago Sun-Times'' since 1987. He studied at the University of Oregon and was a graduate of Columbia University's School of Journalism. During his career, Neal served as a byline reporter and columnist for the ''Oregon Journal'', the ''Philadelphia Inquirer'' and the'' Chicago Tribune'', rising to the level of White House correspondent for the ''Tribune''. From 1987 until his death in 2004, he worked with the ''Chicago Sun-Times'', writing a frequent political column for their editorial page.His hero was Abraham Lincoln, and he campaigned for public support to transfer Lincoln's papers and memorabilia to a scholarly, nonpolitical library and museum that would serve as a focus for public education of the life of the 16th President of the United States. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library opened to the public in 2005. In honor of Neal's work and advocacy for the creation of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, the library's reading room was named after him and the published collection of materials owned by Neal was donated to the library. It consisted of 1,950 books alone. Read more about the "Steve Neal Reading Room" on the [ Abraham Lincoln Presential Library & Museum website].

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Eisenhowers: Reluctant dynasty
ISBN: 0385124473

Doubleday. 1978


Dark Horse: A Biography of Wendell Wilkie
ISBN: 0700604545

Univ Pr of Kansas. 1989

They Never Go Back to Pocatello: The Selected Essays of Richard Neuberger
ISBN: 0875952011

Oregon Historical Society Pr. 1989

These essays offer journalist and Senator Richard Neuberger's vision of mid-century American politics. Among the foremost journalists of his time, Neuberger's byline was identified with the politics and social trends, the mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest for more than a generation. From his eyewitness account of Hitler's "new Germany" in 1933 through his own rise to political prominence in the fifties, this collection of essays represents the full range of his writing. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Rolling on the River: The Best of Steve Neal
ISBN: 080932282X

Southern Illinois University Press. 1999

"There are few places where the game [of politics] is played with more intensity than in Chicago," notes Steve Neal, who has covered that city's politics since 1979.

The longtime political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Neal covered Jane M. Byrne's election in 1979 as the city's first woman mayor and Harold Washington's 1983 triumph as Chicago's first African American mayor. Even people who are not interested in politics are drawn to Neal's column because of his hard-hitting style and lucid insights. Rolling on the River is the first published collection of his work.

In these pages, you'll meet the state legislator who never met a special interest he did not like, an alderman groveling to a mob boss, and the prosecutor who gained notoriety as a publicity hound. Of a junketing congressman, Neal writes: "Instead of sending out a congressional newsletter, [he] ought to be sending his constituents 'Wish you were here' postcards of sandy beaches."

Neal's beat is politics, but his interests are rich and varied. He also writes about sports, music, literature, and film with a point of view that is fresh and original. Neal shows how Muhammad Ali became the heavyweight champion who transcended sports and how Sid Luckman changed football. He writes of Kenny Washington's importance in breaking professional football's color barrier and Steve Prefontaine's courage in taking on the little gray men of the sports establishment. Neal chronicles Paul Robeson's struggles: "His name became a great whisper. . . . The injustices against Paul Robeson have not been righted."

Nobel laureate Saul Bellow tells Neal that comedy is the bright hope of American fiction because it is too difficult for writers in this country to grasp the worst of the human condition. Neal tells why Frank Sinatra called Chicago his kind of town and also shows how the city inspires the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks.

Neal, a former White House correspondent, shares his perspective as one of the few reporters to have interviewed Ronald Reagan in four different decades. He recalls spending an evening with Richard M. Nixon, defends Harry Truman's most controversial decision, and writes from Ireland of John F. Kennedy's enduring legacy in the nation of his ancestors. Neal portrays William Jefferson Clinton as the "world's oldest teenager."

With vivid imagery, Neal makes his subjects come alive. Mayor Richard M. Daley is likened to Forrest Gump, and the legendary boxing announcer Ben Bentley is hailed as the last of the Damon Runyon characters.

Tough but fair. Illuminating. Compassionate. That's the best of Steve Neal.

McNary of Oregon: A Political Biography
ISBN: 0875951732

Oregon Historical Society Pr. 1985

Book by Neal, Steve

Harry and Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Postwar World
ISBN: 0743223748

Scribner. 2002

Between 1945 and 1952, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower worked more closely than any other two American presidents of the twentieth century they were partners in changing America's role in the world and in responding to the challenge of a Soviet Europe. And yet, these men of character, intelligence, and principle will likely be remembered for the decade-long epic feud that nearly ended their friendship. In the first biography to examine in depth their political collaboration, bitter rupture, and eventual reconciliation, Steve Neal, political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, provides a fresh perspective on these two remarkable leaders, and on the American presidency itself.

HST: Memories of the Truman Years
ISBN: 0809325586

Southern Illinois University Press. 2003

Believing that Americans should understand their leadership, Harry Truman was the first American president to authorize an oral history of his life and times. In that vein, almost forty years ago, the Truman Library in the president’s native Independence, Missouri, began the daunting task of compiling the words of Truman’s contemporaries, including his senior aides, foreign policy and military advisors, political strategists, and close friends. Longtime Chicago journalist Steve Neal has edited twenty of these remarkable interviews for HST: Memories of the Truman Years.

Candid and insightful, the recollections include those of statesmen Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman soldiers Omar Bradley and Lucius Clay Truman’s best friend Thomas Evans associates Clark Clifford and Matt Connelly 1948 Republican vice-presidential nominee Earl Warren artist Thomas Hart Benton West German leader Konrad Adnauer former New Dealers Sam Rosenman and James Rowe journalist Richard L. Strout and many others.

An honest portrait of Truman emerges from the twenty firsthand accounts of those who knew him best. HST: Memories of the Truman Years spans Truman’s rise to the presidency and his responses to the challenges of World War II, the Soviet blockade of Berlin, the rebuilding of postwar Europe, the 1948 campaign, his controversial firing of General Douglas MacArthur, and his courageous leadership on civil rights.

“The goal of these histories,” explains Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, in the foreword, “in keeping with Grandpa’s stated desire that the [Truman Library] be about his presidency, not a monument to him, was to preserve forever the perspective of those who had shared his life and times and, in many cases, helped him shape the world.”


  • ''Wall Street Journal`s'' Critic`s Choice award
  • Three Time Pulitzer Prize Nominee