Michael Kleen is a freelance columnist and owner and proprietor of Black Oak Media. He earned a M.A. in History from Eastern Illinois University in 2008 and a M.S. in Education from Western Illinois University in 2011. He is the author of numerous books, including One Voice, Home of the Brave, Statism and Its Discontents, Tales of Coles County, Illinois, Six Tales of Terror, and Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State. Michael has spoken about local history and folklore at conventions, libraries, cafes, schools, and colleges; and he has presented research papers at the 2007, 2010, and 2011 Conference on Illinois History in Springfield.
Statism and its Discontents
Modern philosophers have noted that the State is the most important phenomenon of the modern world. There is nothing it does not touch, be it education, travel, communication, entertainment, or even something as basic as food. Therefore, the battle lines have been drawn, not between Democrats and Republicans or liberals and conservatives, but between advocates of Statism and advocates of liberty. These battles are being fought everywhere – in courts, kitchens, boardrooms, schoolhouses, prisons, doctor’s offices, on streets, and even in our own homes. The articles in this collection are drawn from dozens of columns and editorials written by Michael Kleen between 2009 and 2011 on the topics of Statism, liberty, and their conflict.
Home of the Brave, Part 1: A Rope of Sand
It is 2012. Chris Randall is an average American male. Growing up during the 1990s, he witnesses the turmoil of the world through the safety of a television set. In one day, his entire world is unraveled. A massive electromagnetic pulse cripples all electronic devices throughout the country, and temporary chaos sets in. What emerges is a different but strangely familiar world―a world that had always been seething just beneath the surface. As the dust settles, only the strong and resourceful survive. Millions of others die from famine, disease, and disorder. Chris must make a choice: succumb to nihilism, hatred, and self-destruction, or find redemption by leaving behind everything he has ever known.
Tales of Coles County, Illinois (2010)
When four students from Eastern Illinois University are stranded during a violent storm, they seek shelter with an elderly couple who give them more than they bargain for. After one night, the four will never look at Coles County the same way. In the Legends and Lore of Coles County, Michael Kleen reveals over a dozen hidden stories from the area’s past and present. What is the history of Coles County’s ghost towns? Does a werewolf stalk the Charleston Stone Quarry? When did a poltergeist terrorize one rural family in Pleasant Grove Township? Is there buried treasure in Coles County? The answers to these questions and more can be found in this definitive volume.