Learning About the Legacy of Jim Rhodes; Remembering a Classic Columbus Building

The holiday season is upon us, and for many people, that means shopping. Books are often a good choice for those who are just hard to buy for, who have everything, or who are crazy about politics and history. This week, the spotlight is on two recent books that might help with checking off those who are in that last category.

There have been 63 governors of Ohio, and six of them have served two separate terms in the state’s top executive office. The legacy of the last multiple term governor, James Rhodes, lives on in many minds, and now in the pages of a book that’s been described by another governor, Bob Taft, the first “thorough, balanced biography of this dominant political personality and amazing human being.” The book “James A Rhodes: Ohio Colossus” tracks the rise of Rhodes from his modest upbringing in Jackson County to his athletic accomplishments to his long political career, beginning on the school board and ending as one of just six governors anywhere in the US who served four four-year terms. The book is so comprehensive and well-researched it has three co-authors – former Plain Dealer reporter Richard Zimmerman, who started the book before he died, former Plain Dealer and Associated Press reporter Tom Diemer, and Lee Leonard, who reported for UPI and the Columbus Dispatch until he retired a few years ago. Leonard talks about the complex legacy of Jim Rhodes.

The landscape of Columbus changed forever in the first week of November 2000, when an iconic building on the city’s east side was demolished. That building was the Kahiki Supper Club, and it was closed earlier that year, and that shutdown marked an end of an era for Kahiki fans around the city, the state and the country. Columbus-based authors David Meyers and his daughter Elise Meyers Walker have written several historical books, including one about the old Ohio Penitentiary. They recently released "The Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Parade in Columbus".

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