Throughout America's history, the House has played a central role in shaping the nation's destiny. In this incomparable single-volume history, distinguished historian Robert V. Remini traces the institution from a struggling, nascent body to the venerable powerhouse it has become since America's rise on the world stage. The essential drama of democracy—the struggle between principle and pragmatism—is showcased throughout the book, and through it the history of America's successful experiment with democracy unfurls.
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Robert V. Remini is professor of history emeritus and research professor of humanities emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and historian of the United States House of Representatives. He is the winner of the National Book Award for the third volume of his study of Andrew Jackson, and he lives in Wilmette, Illinois.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. National Book Award winner Remini (Andrew Jackson) offers the definitive history of "the People's House." Envisioned as the more democratic half of America's bicameral legislature, the House first convened on April 1, 1789. As Remini shows, in the early decades, Henry Clay's leadership was crucial—his willingness to go head-to-head with the Monroe administration helped establish the House's power and autonomy. During the Civil War, the House provided crucial support for the Union by passing legislation to print greenbacks and create a military draft. Remini treats the 16 black congressmen who served during Reconstruction in t a few, general paragraphs; this particular era in the institution's history deserves more attention. Turning to the 20th century, Remini examines the House's response to the Great Depression, the Cold War, civil rights, Vietnam and Watergate. His concluding chapter addresses the "Conservative Revolution" of the 1980s and '90s. Here Newt Gingrich gets the spotlight: he was determined to give the House a more prominent position in the legislative process, but also helped usher in "an era of incivility and personal attack and partisanship" that, says Remini, continues today. Written at the instruction of Congress,, this tome is highly readable though encyclopedic. B&w photos. (May 1)
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