Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  George Frederik Will  

Pen Name: George F. Will,


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1941 in Champaign, Illinois

-- Website --
-- George F. Will on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Will was born and raised in Champaign, Illinois. He graduated from University Laboratory High School in Urbana, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Will is a prize wining columnist, journalist, and author. He writes about foreign and domestic politics and policy and baseball. Will attended Trinity College in Connecticut and Oxford University in England. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in 1967. He taught at Michigan State University and the University of Toronto but left academic life to work in Washington DC in 1970. In 1973, Will became the Washington editor of ''National Review''. He then became a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group in 1974 and was a contributing editor for ''Newsweek'' by 1976. In 1977, Will was a television commentator ''Agronsky and Company'' and in 1981 for ''This Week with David Brinkley''. He won a a Pulitizer Prize for commentary writing in 1977. Will has been a regular member of ABC's ''This Week'' on Sunday mornings since the show began in 1981. He continues to write a syndicated column for ''The Washington Post'' and serves as a contributing analyst with ABC News.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Statecraft as Soulcraft: What Government Does
ISBN: 0297783629

Weidenfeld & N. 1984

The Morning After: American Successes and Excesses: 1981-1986
ISBN: 5551804119

Free Press. 1986

The New Season: A Spectator's Guide to the 1988 Election
ISBN: 0671662759

Simon & Schuster. 1988

Discusses the political patterns of the recent past and suggests what can, and what cannot, be predicted about the near future

Suddenly the American Idea Abroad and at Home 1986 to 1990
ISBN: 0029344352

Free Press. 1990

The author discusses the triumph of American democratic ideals abroad, the failings of the budget and the President, and other topics

Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball
ISBN: 0026284707

Macmillan Pub Co. 1990

Drawing on extensive interviews, the Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator profiles four key figures in professional baseball--outfielder Tony Gwynn, pitcher Orel Hershiser, shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr., and manager Tony LaRussa

Restoration: Congress, Term Limits and the Recovery of Deliberative Democracy
ISBN: 0029347130

Free Press. 1993

The world's oldest democracy - ours - has an old tradition of skepticism about government. However, the degree of dismay about government today is perhaps unprecedented in our history. Americans are particularly convinced that Congress has become irresponsible, either unwilling or incapable of addressing the nation's problems - while it spends its time and our money on extending its members' careers. Many Americans have come to believe fundamental reform is needed, specifically limits on the number of terms legislators can serve. In Restoration, George Will makes a compelling case, drawn from our history and his close observance of Congress, that term limits are now necessary to revive the traditional values of classical republican government, to achieve the Founders' goal of deliberative democracy, and to restore Congress to competence and its rightful dignity as the First Branch of government. At stake, Will says, is the vitality of America's great promise self-government under representative institutions. At issue is the meaning of representation. The morality of representative government, Will argues, does not merely permit, it requires representatives to exercise independent judgment rather than merely execute instructions given by constituents. However, careerism, which is a consequence of the professionalization of politics, has made legislators servile and has made the national legislature incapable of rational, responsible behavior. Term limits would restore the constitutional space intended by the Founders, the healthy distance between the electors and the elected that is necessary for genuine deliberation about the public interest. Blending the political philosophy of theFounders with alarming facts about the behavior of legislative careerists, Restoration demonstrates how term limits, by altering the motives of legislators, can narrow the gap between the theory and the practice of American democracy.

The Levelling Wind: Politics, Culture and Other News
ISBN: 0029344387

Free Pr. 1994

A fifth collection of essays by a popular syndicated columnist examines the triumphs, misadventures, and foibles of the past four years, presenting his criticisms of the American government's values and its confused political goals. Major ad/promo.

The Woven Figure: Conservatism and America's Fabric
ISBN: 0684825627

Scribner. 1997

In a collection of essays, the author addresses such topics as inflation, the Gingrich revolution, and the arrogance of government and its inability to correct human nature

Bunts: Curt Flood Camden Yards Pete Rose and Other Reflections on Baseball
ISBN: 0684838206

Scribner. 1998

At the beginning of the 1990s, a political columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator set out, in his words, to write an antiromantic book about a subject that had been romanticized in print for one hundred years. The subject was baseball, the columnist George Will, and the book Men at Work. His antiromantic love letter was warmly received by those who love baseball. Critics called it "an excellent book about excellence" (Barbara Grizzuti Harrison), "a classic [that] may even stand up as the best baseball book of the 1990s" (Jerome Holtzman), "a hit -- a triple off the center field wall" (Roger Angell), and by readers who kept it at the top of bestseller lists for more than five months. He's back. George Will returns to baseball with more than seventy finely honed pieces about the sometimes recondite, sometimes frustrating, always passionately felt National Pastime. Here are Will's eulogy for the late Curt Flood ("Dred Scott in Spikes"), Will on Ted Williams ("When Ted Williams retired in 1960, a sportswriter said that Boston knew how Britain felt when it lost India. Indeed. Britain felt diminished, but also a bit relieved"), and on his own baseball career ("I was a very late draft choice of the Mittendorf Funeral Home Panthers. Our color was black"). Here are subjects ranging from the author's 1977 purchase of a single share of stock in the Chicago Cubs, a purchase brokered by Warren Buffett ("a St. Louis Cardinal fan, but not otherwise sinister"), to the collision between Pete Rose and Bart Giamatti, to the building of Camden Yards in Baltimore, to the dismantling of the 1997 World Series Champion Florida Martins. With new material, including an essay on the art of baseball broadcasting, featuring ESPN play-by-play man Jon Miller, and incorporating more than seventy photos, Bunts is certain to be for 1998 what Men at Work was for 1990 -- "inquisitive and extraordinarily nimble-minded ... this season's baseball book of choice" (The Wall Street Journal).

With a Happy Eye But . . .: America and the World, 1997--2002
ISBN: 0684838214

Free Press. 2002

A seventh collection by the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist imparts his views on such topics as Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, the impeachment trial of Clinton, the debate over partial-birth abortions, the 2000 election, baseball, and the deaths of his mentor and father. 75,000 first printing.

One Man's America: The Pleasures and Provocations of Our Singular Nation
ISBN: 0307454363

Crown Forum. 2009

In his provocative and compelling new book, America’s most widely read and most influential commentator casts his gimlet eye on our singular nation. Moving far beyond the strict confines of politics, George F. Will offers a fascinating look at the people, stories, and events–often unheralded–that make the American drama so endlessly entertaining and instructive.

With Will’s signature erudition and wry wit always on display, One Man’s America chronicles a spectacular, eclectic procession of figures who have shaped our cultural landscape–from Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., from Victorian poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from cotton picker— turned—country singer Buck Owens to actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan.

Will crisscrosses the country to illuminate what it is that makes America distinctive. He visits the USS Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor and ponders its enduring links to the present. He travels to Milwaukee to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of an iconic brand, Harley-Davidson. In Los Angeles he finds the inspiring future of education, while in New York he confronts the dispiriting didacticism of the avant-garde. He ventures to the Civil War battlefields of Virginia to explore what we risk when we efface our own history. And on the outskirts of Chicago he investigates one of the darkest chapters in American history, only to discover a shining example of resilience and grace–the best the country has to offer.

Will’s wide lens takes in much more as well–everything from the “most emblematic novel of the 1930s” (and no, it is not about the Joads) to the cult of ESPN to Brooks Brothers and Ben & Jerry’s. And of course, One Man’s America would not be complete without the author’s insights on the national pastime, baseball–the icons and the cheats, the hapless and the greats.

Finally, in a personal and reflective turn, Will writes movingly of his thirty-five-year-old son Jon, born with Down syndrome, and pays loving and poignant tribute to his mother, who died at the age of ninety-eight after a long struggle with dementia.

The essays in One Man’s America, even when critiquing American culture, reflect Will’s deep affection and regard for our nation. After all, he notes, when America falls short, it does so only as compared to “the uniquely high standards it has set for itself.” In the end, this brilliantly informative and entertaining book reminds us of the enduring value of “the simple virtues and decencies that can make communities flourish and that have made America great and exemplary.”

From the Hardcover edition.

How Baseball Explains America (How...Explain)
ISBN: 1600789382

Triumph Books. 2014

Examining the connection between baseball and our society as a whole, How Baseball Explains America is a fascinating, one-of-a-kind journey through America's pastime. Longtime USA TODAY baseball editor and columnist Hal Bodley explores just how essential baseball is to understanding the American experience. He takes readers into the Oval Office with George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as the former presidents share their thoughts on the game, he looks at the changes that America's Greatest Generation ushered in, as well as examining baseball's struggle with performance enhancing drugs alongside America's war on drugs.

An unabashedly celebratory explanation of America's love affair with baseball and the men who make it possible, this work sheds light on topics such as the role Jackie Robinson's signing with the Dodgers played in the civil rights movement, how baseball's westward expansion mirrored the growth of our national economy, labor strife, baseball families, the international explosion of the game, and even the myriad ways in which movies, music, and baseball are intrinsically tied. It is a must read for anyone interested in more fully understanding not only the game but also the nation in which it thrives.

A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred
ISBN: 0385349319

Crown Archetype. 2014

The New York Times-bestselling history of America's most beloved baseball stadium, Wrigley Field, and the Cubs’ century-long search for World Series glory

In A Nice Little Place on the North Side, leading columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it enters its second century. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley is considered one of its sacred spaces. But what is its true, hyperbole-free history?

Winding beautifully like Wrigley’s iconic ivy, Will’s meditation on “The Friendly Confines” examines both the unforgettable stories that forged the field’s legend and the larger-than-life characters—from Wrigley and Ruth to Veeck, Durocher, and Banks—who brought it glory, heartbreak, and scandal. Drawing upon his trademark knowledge and inimitable sense of humor, Will also explores his childhood connections to the team, the Cubs’ future, and what keeps long-suffering fans rooting for the home team after so many years of futility.

In the end, A Nice Little Place on the North Side is more than just the history of a ballpark. It is the story of Chicago, of baseball, and of America itself.


Will won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary writing in 1977.

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