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Available July 2023

Order at siupress.com or from online booksellers

Book front cover

Son of Southern Illinois: Glenn Poshard’s Life in Politics and Education

By: Carl Walworth with Glen Poshard


A life of principles, service, and faith

This first biography of Glenn Poshard traces the life of a young man who rose from rural poverty in Southern Illinois to become a United States congressman and president of the Southern Illinois
University system. This profound portrait unveils a life and career dedicated to making higher education affordable and improving the quality of life for the community of Southern Illinois.

Beginning with his childhood in a two-room home near Herald, Illinois and the early, tragic loss of his sister, this biography navigates Poshard’s service in the military, his time as a state senator  and United States congressman, his run for governor, his years at Southern Illinois University, and the establishment of the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children. Intimacies of his personal life are disclosed, such as his struggles with and treatment for depression, his passion for education, and the lasting bonds he formed with his teachers. His unpopular decision to refuse PAC donations is also highlighted, along with the work that went into sponsoring the Illinois Wilderness Act, and his relationship with civil rights activist John Lewis. Glenn Poshard’s efforts for the Wilderness Act designated Southern Illinois’s famous Garden of the Gods as a National Wilderness Preservation System, which continues to attract visitors from around the world.

Poshard’s path from poverty was riddled with hardship, but his perseverance and family values ultimately allowed for longstanding personal and civic growth. From an admirable work ethic to a steadfast commitment to problem-solving, this biography illuminates the life and accomplishments of an impressive and generous leader.

Advanced Praise

“Very few, if any, biographies of prominent politicians are this candid, resulting in a unique and important political biography.”
John S. Jackson, editor of Southern Illinois University at 150 Years

Glenn Poshard has lived a remarkable life … His is an American story worth reading. —Governor Jim Edgar

It is difficult to estimate the influence of Glenn’s life on vulnerable and ‘faceless’ children whose lives have been dignified and enriched through his vision, love, and service … His life is truly a testament that those who grow through service are magnified, and humble hearts combined with genuine love can lead to great accomplishments.
Jini Roby, professor emeritus of social work, Brigham Young University

“More than any person I know, Glenn Poshard has given a life of commitment to the families of Southern Illinois. … The voters, even when they disagreed with him, knew he was an honest, caring man in a world desperately searching for public servants to believe in.” —Senator Dick Durbin

“Glenn’s tireless dedication to working men and women and their unions has not wavered in the forty years I have known him.” — Edward M. Smith, president and CEO of Ullico

Media interviews

The links below are to a 2-part segment of Capitol Cast with Jennifer Fuller on the Illinois News Network. This is also available on the Capitol News Illinois website. Capitol News uses seasoned journalists to cover the statehouse, public policy and related issues in Illinois.

Capitol Cast: Illinois: Capitol Cast Special: Influential Illinoisans – Glenn Poshard Part 1 on Apple Podcasts

Capitol Cast: Illinois: Capitol Cast Special: Influential Illinoisans – Glenn Poshard Part 2 on Apple Podcasts

Or you can see them both (Aug. 25 and Sept. 1) and other Capitol Cast segments here

Capitol Cast: Illinois on Apple Podcasts

The link below is to a 28-minute interview with Jak Tichenor on the InFocus series on WSIU.

InFocus 401 | Glenn Poshard (youtube.com)


The links below are to a series of podcasts from the SIU Press.

Inside The Blanket Fort – Episode 139 | WSIU

Inside The Blanket Fort – Episode 140 | WSIU

Inside The Blanket Fort – Episode 141 | WSIU

Inside The Blanket Fort – Episode 142 | WSIU

Inside The Blanket Fort – Episode 143 | WSIU


The link below is to a presentation hosted by the SIU Press in Morris Library



The link below is to an article published August 9 in the Edwardsville Intelligencer newspaper.

Glenn Poshard reflects on life in politics and education (theintelligencer.com)

The link below is to an article in Chicago Magazine

Glenn Poshard: Let’s Emphasize Commonalities Between Chicago and Downstate – Chicago Magazine


The link below is to an article by Jim Dey of the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette

JIm Dey | Veteran pol pours out his past in autobiography | Opinion | news-gazette.com


The link below is to an interview with Poshard on KSDK in St. Louis



The link below is to an article in the Southern Illinoisan newspaper on August 8

Biography traces the successes, struggles of Glenn Poshard (thesouthern.com)


Listen to Poshard and Walworth on nowdecatur.com Podcast (July 20)

Byers & Co. Interviews: Glenn Poshard & Carl Walworth – July 20, 2023 on Apple Podcasts


Book reviews

Below are links to 3 book reviews, one by Mike Matejka for labor publications, one written by Richard Hayden from the August 24, 2023 Toledo, IL Democrat, reprinted with permission, and one published on a blog by journalist Dan Hagen.