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An authoritative guide to the rise of the Islamic State and its senior leadership.

How did the Islamic State grow from regional terrorist group to a brutal multinational bureaucratic machine? What are its goals? How can it be stopped?

In 2014 the Islamic State seemingly appeared out of nowhere, routing Iraqi forces, conquering Iraq's second-largest city, boldly announcing the establishment of a caliphate, and declaring itself the Islamic State (IS). Today, IS controls thousands of square miles and is attempting to govern millions of people.

In this definitive guide to the Islamic State and its senior leadership, Charles R. Lister traces its roots from the release of its notorious father figure, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, from a Jordanian prison and the group's formation in Afghanistan in the late-1990s, and finally to its stunning maturation in Iraq and Syria.

The West knows IS through its unrelenting propaganda war, with its deft use of social media and videos of horrific acts. Lister shares details of IS's sophisticated revenue machine, attempts at governing, and its formidable military.

With IS knocking on the doors of Lebanon, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, Lister's portrait helps us understand what to expect next and recommends a course of action to defeat IS, extinguish extremism, and encourage a tolerant Islam across the Middle East.

This book includes a Who's Who in the Islamic State's senior leadership.

From the foreword by Ahmed Rashid

"The Islamic State is the best basic understanding available of the ISIS phenomena and how to deal with it."

The first edition of Get Out the Vote! broke ground by introducing a new scientific approach to the challenge of voter mobilization and profoundly influenced how campaigns operate. In this expanded and updated edition, the authors incorporate data from more than one hundred new studies, which shed new light on the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of various campaign tactics, including door-to-door canvassing, e-mail, direct mail, and telephone calls. Two new chapters focus on the effectiveness of mass media campaigns and events such as candidate forums and Election Day festivals. Available in time for the core of the 2008 presidential campaign, this practical guide on voter mobilization is sure to be an important resource for consultants, candidates, and grassroots organizations. Praise for the first edition: "Donald P. Green and Alan S. Gerber have studied turnout for years. Their findings, based on dozens of controlled experiments done as part of actual campaigns, are summarized in a slim and readable new book called Get Out the Vote!, which is bound to become a bible for politicians and activists of all stripes." —Alan B. Kreuger, in the New York Times "Get Out the Vote! shatters conventional wisdom about GOTV." —Hal Malchow in Campaigns & Elections "Green and Gerber's recent book represents important innovations in the study of turnout."—Political Science Review "Green and Gerber have provided a valuable resource for grassroots campaigns across the spectrum."—National Journal
A brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America’s most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of America’s favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages.

From its start, America has been awash in drink. The sailing vessel that brought John Winthrop to the shores of the New World in 1630 carried more beer than water. By the 1820s, liquor flowed so plentifully it was cheaper than tea. That Americans would ever agree to relinquish their booze was as improbable as it was astonishing.

Yet we did, and Last Call is Daniel Okrent’s dazzling explanation of why we did it, what life under Prohibition was like, and how such an unprecedented degree of government interference in the private lives of Americans changed the country forever.

Writing with both wit and historical acuity, Okrent reveals how Prohibition marked a confluence of diverse forces: the growing political power of the women’s suffrage movement, which allied itself with the antiliquor campaign; the fear of small-town, native-stock Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants of the large cities; the anti-German sentiment stoked by World War I; and a variety of other unlikely factors, ranging from the rise of the automobile to the advent of the income tax.

Through it all, Americans kept drinking, going to remarkably creative lengths to smuggle, sell, conceal, and convivially (and sometimes fatally) imbibe their favorite intoxicants. Last Call is peopled with vivid characters of an astonishing variety: Susan B. Anthony and Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan and bootlegger Sam Bronfman, Pierre S. du Pont and H. L. Mencken, Meyer Lansky and the incredible—if long-forgotten—federal official Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who throughout the twenties was the most powerful woman in the country. (Perhaps most surprising of all is Okrent’s account of Joseph P. Kennedy’s legendary, and long-misunderstood, role in the liquor business.)

It’s a book rich with stories from nearly all parts of the country. Okrent’s narrative runs through smoky Manhattan speakeasies, where relations between the sexes were changed forever; California vineyards busily producing “sacramental” wine; New England fishing communities that gave up fishing for the more lucrative rum-running business; and in Washington, the halls of Congress itself, where politicians who had voted for Prohibition drank openly and without apology.

Last Call is capacious, meticulous, and thrillingly told. It stands as the most complete history of Prohibition ever written and confirms Daniel Okrent’s rank as a major American writer.
The Pulitzer Prize winning classic by President John F. Kennedy, with an introduction by Caroline Kennedy and a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy.

Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage serves as a clarion call to every American.

In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Profiles in Courage is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword: “not just stories of the past but a book of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

Along with vintage photographs and an extensive author biography, this book features Kennedy's correspondence about the writing project, contemporary reviews, a letter from Ernest Hemingway, and two rousing speeches from recipients of the Profile in Courage Award.  Introduction by John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, forward by John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert F. Kennedy.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The inside story of Donald Trump’s first two years in Washington as viewed from Capitol Hill, a startling account that turns “Congress into a Game of Thrones book” (Trevor Noah, The Daily Show).
 
Taking readers into secret strategy calls and closed-door meetings from the House to the White House, Politico Playbook writers Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer trace the gamesmanship and the impulsiveness, the dealmaking and the backstabbing, in a blow-by-blow account of the power struggle that roiled Congress.

Moving from the fights for advantage between Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer; to Mitch McConnell’s merciless, Machiavellian handling of the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; to Paul Ryan’s desperate, failed attempts to keep Mark Meadows from pushing Trump into a government shutdown over immigration, The Hill to Die On bristles with fresh news and tells the story of what really happened in some of the most defining moments our era.

Like The West Wing for Congress, or Shattered meets This Town, The Hill to Die On tells an unforgettable story of politics and power, where the stakes going forward are nothing less than the future of America and the lives of millions of ordinary Americans.

Praise for The Hill to Die On

“[Sherman and Palmer] go deep inside the halls of Congress to document the deal making, backstabbing, power struggles and political knife fights that have roiled the nation’s capital during President Donald Trump’s first two years in office. . . . Anything but boring.”—USA Today, “5 Books Not to Miss”

“[The Hill to Die On] painstakingly chronicles the return to divided government and the restoration of an institutional check on a mercurial chief executive. . . . The book depicts a foul-mouthed president in love with his own reflection, a House GOP encased in the amber of self-delusion, and Nancy Pelosi’s unblinking focus on twin prizes: recapturing the House and returning to the speaker’s chair.”—The Guardian

“If you are one of the many Americans who hates Congress, this book is for you. In the Washington depicted in Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer’s new book, there are no heroes—only winners and losers. . . . With these lawmakers, Sherman and Palmer get inside their heads and capture what they’re thinking in real time.”—The Washington Post
New York Times bestelling author T. R. Reid travels around the world to solve the urgent problem of America's failing tax code, unravelling a complex topic in plain English - and telling a rollicking story along the way. 

The U.S. tax code is a total write-off. Crammed with loopholes and special interest provisions, it works for no one except tax lawyers, accountants, and huge corporations. Not for the first time, we have reached a breaking point. That happened in 1922, and again in 1954, and again in 1986. In other words, every thirty-two years. Which means that the next complete overhaul is due in 2018. But what should be in this new tax code? Can we make the U.S. tax system simpler, fairer, and more efficient? Yes, yes, and yes. Can we cut tax rates and still bring in more revenue? Yes.
 
Other rich countries, from Estonia to New Zealand to the UK—advanced, high-tech, free-market democracies—have all devised tax regimes that are equitable, effective, and easy on the taxpayer.  But the United States has languished. So byzantine are the current statutes that, by our government’s own estimates, Americans spend six billion hours and $10 billion every year preparing and filing their taxes. In the Netherlands that task takes a mere fifteen minutes! Successful American companies like Apple, Caterpillar, and Google effectively pay no tax at all in some instances because of loopholes that allow them to move profits offshore. Indeed, the dysfunctional tax system has become a major cause of economic inequality.
 
In A Fine Mess, T. R. Reid crisscrosses the globe in search of the exact solutions to these urgent problems. With an uncanny knack for making a complex subject not just accessible but gripping, he investigates what makes good taxation (no, that’s not an oxymoron) and brings that knowledge home where it is needed most. Never talking down or reflexively siding with either wing of politics, T. R. Reid presses the case for sensible root-and-branch reforms with a companionable ebullience. This affects everyone. Doing our taxes will never be America's favorite pastime, but it can and should be so much easier and fairer.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Lichtman has written what may be the most important book of the year.”  —The Hill

What are the ranges and limitations of presidential authority? What are the standards of truthfulness that a president must uphold? What will it take to impeach Donald J. Trump? Professor Allan J. Lichtman, who has correctly forecasted thirty years of presidential outcomes, answers these questions, and more, in The Case for Impeachment—a deeply convincing argument for impeaching the 45th president of the United States.

In the fall of 2016, Allan J. Lichtman made headlines when he predicted that Donald J. Trump would defeat the heavily favored Democrat, Hillary Clinton, to win the presidential election. Now, in clear, nonpartisan terms, Lichtman lays out the reasons Congress could remove Trump from the Oval Office: his ties to Russia before and after the election, the complicated financial conflicts of interest at home and abroad, and his abuse of executive authority.

The Case for Impeachment also offers a fascinating look at presidential impeachments throughout American history, including the often-overlooked story of Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, details about Richard Nixon’s resignation, and Bill Clinton’s hearings. Lichtman shows how Trump exhibits many of the flaws (and more) that have doomed past presidents. As the Nixon Administration dismissed the reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as “character assassination” and “a vicious abuse of the journalistic process,” Trump has attacked the “dishonest media,” claiming, “the press should be ashamed of themselves.”

Historians, legal scholars, and politicians alike agree: we are in politically uncharted waters—the durability of our institutions is being undermined and the public’s confidence in them is eroding, threatening American democracy itself.

Most citizens—politics aside—want to know where the country is headed. Lichtman argues, with clarity and power, that for Donald Trump’s presidency, smoke has become fire.

The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War

In The Field of Blood, Joanne B. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.

These fights didn’t happen in a vacuum. Freeman’s dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities—the feel, sense, and sound of it—as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and rivetingly told, The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.

“With insight, wisdom, affection, and concern, Sunstein has written the story of impeachment every citizen needs to know. This is a remarkable, essential book.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin

An essential guide to the impeachment process that rises above politics and goes beyond punditry, from one of America's foremost legal experts.

As Benjamin Franklin famously put it, Americans have a republic, if we can keep it. Preserving the Constitution and the democratic system it supports is the public's responsibility. One route the Constitution provides for discharging that duty--a route rarely traveled--is impeachment.

Harvard Law professor Cass R. Sunstein provides a succinct citizen's guide to this essential tool of self-government. Taking us deeper than mere partisan politics, he illuminates the constitutional design behind impeachment and emphasizes the people's role in holding presidents accountable. In spite of the loud national debate between pundits and politicians alike over whether or not to impeach Trump, impeachment remains widely misunderstood. Sunstein identifies and corrects a number of common misconceptions. For example, he shows how the Constitution, not the House of Representatives, establishes grounds for impeachment, and that the president can be impeached for abuses of power that do not violate the law. Even neglect of duty counts among the "high crimes and misdemeanors" delineated in the republic's foundational document. Sunstein describes how impeachment helps make sense of our constitutional order, particularly the framers' controversial decision to install an empowered executive in a nation deeply fearful of kings.

With an eye toward the past and the future, Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide considers a host of actual and imaginable arguments for a president's removal, explaining why some cases are easy and others hard, why some arguments for impeachment have been judicious and others not. And with an appendix on the Mueller report, it puts the current national debate in its proper historical context. In direct and approachable terms, it dispels the fog surrounding impeachment so that Americans of all political convictions may use their ultimate civic authority wisely.
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning scholar, a timely history of the constitutional changes that built equality into the nation’s foundation and how those guarantees have been shaken over time.

The Declaration of Independence announced equality as an American ideal, but it took the Civil War and the subsequent adoption of three constitutional amendments to establish that ideal as American law. The Reconstruction amendments abolished slavery, guaranteed all persons due process and equal protection of the law, and equipped black men with the right to vote. They established the principle of birthright citizenship and guaranteed the privileges and immunities of all citizens. The federal government, not the states, was charged with enforcement, reversing the priority of the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In grafting the principle of equality onto the Constitution, these revolutionary changes marked the second founding of the United States.

Eric Foner’s compact, insightful history traces the arc of these pivotal amendments from their dramatic origins in pre–Civil War mass meetings of African-American “colored citizens” and in Republican party politics to their virtual nullification in the late nineteenth century. A series of momentous decisions by the Supreme Court narrowed the rights guaranteed in the amendments, while the states actively undermined them. The Jim Crow system was the result. Again today there are serious political challenges to birthright citizenship, voting rights, due process, and equal protection of the law. Like all great works of history, this one informs our understanding of the present as well as the past: knowledge and vigilance are always necessary to secure our basic rights.

Congress For Dummies helps you sort out what Congress does on a daily basis and what it all means to you, the citizen. It shows you how to get organized, make your voice heard, and influence legislation that might affect you. Full of helpful resources such as contact information for House and Senate offices, and smart, straightforward explanations of the legislative process, this book is everything you need to understand Congress and get involved in your government.

Whether you just want to know how government works, or you want to get involved to change your country, this simple guide covers all the ins and outs of Congress. It’s a nonpartisan look at Congress that includes forewords by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. Inside you’ll find easy explanations and helpful tips on how to:

Get involved in the democratic process Influence legislation that’s important to you Understa nd Congress and the media Contact your senators and representatives Check out Congress in action, in person Deal with congressional staff

Expert author David Silverberg — Managing Editor and a columnist at the Washington weekly The Hill — takes the mystery out of getting something done in Congress, introducing you to the players and explaining everything from legislation and lobbying to caucuses and coalitions. Written with the citizen advocate in mind, this helpful guide gives regular people the tools and knowledge they need to achieve their aims. Inside, you’ll discover:

How the three branches of government work together How to register your opinion with your elected officials How the legislative process works — from idea to law How debates, conferences, and vetoes work How budgeting and appropriations work How to get the most effect from your political contributions How the lobbying process works How to advocate for legislation How to deal with congressional staffers How to make use of congressional services

Getting something done in the messy confusion of democracy and bureaucracy is no easy task. Full of the kind of information and knowledge that Washington insiders take for granted, Congress For Dummies levels the playing field so that regular people — just like you — can make a difference, too.

#1 New York Times bestseller

The fiery U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and bestselling author offers a passionate, inspiring book about why our middle class is under siege and how we can win the fight to save it

Senator Elizabeth Warren has long been an outspoken champion of America’s middle class, and by the time the people of Massachusetts elected her in 2012, she had become one of the country’s leading progressive voices. Now, at a perilous moment for our nation, she has written a book that is at once an illuminating account of how we built the strongest middle class in history, a scathing indictment of those who have spent the past thirty-five years undermining working families, and a rousing call to action.

Warren grew up in Oklahoma, and she’s never forgotten how difficult it was for her mother and father to hold on at the ragged edge of the middle class. An educational system that offered opportunities for all made it possible for her to achieve her dream of going to college, becoming a teacher, and, later, attending law school. But now, for many, these kinds of opportunities are gone, and a government that once looked out for working families is instead captive to the rich and powerful. Seventy-five years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal ushered in an age of widespread prosperity; in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan reversed course and sold the country on the disastrous fiction called trickle-down economics. Now, with the election of Donald Trump--a con artist who promised to drain the swamp of special interests and then surrounded himself with billionaires and lobbyists--the middle class is being pushed ever closer to collapse.

Written in the candid, high-spirited voice that is Warren’s trademark, This Fight Is Our Fight tells eye-opening stories about her battles in the Senate and vividly describes the experiences of hard-working Americans who have too often been given the short end of the stick. Elizabeth Warren has had enough of phony promises and a government that no longer serves its people--she won’t sit down, she won’t be silenced, and she will fight back.

The shocking first-draft history of the Trump regime, and its clear authoritarian impulses, based on the viral Internet phenom "The Weekly List".

In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump's election as president, Amy Siskind, a former Wall Street executive and the founder of The New Agenda, began compiling a list of actions taken by the Trump regime that pose a threat to our democratic norms. Under the headline: "Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you'll remember", Siskind's "Weekly List" began as a project she shared with friends, but it soon went viral and now has more than half a million viewers every week.

Compiled in one volume for the first time, The List is a first draft history and a comprehensive accounting of Donald Trump's first year. Beginning with Trump's acceptance of white supremacists the week after the election and concluding a year to the day later, we watch as Trump and his regime chips away at the rights and protections of marginalized communities, of women, of us all, via Twitter storms, unchecked executive action, and shifting rules and standards. The List chronicles not only the scandals that made headlines but just as important, the myriad smaller but still consequential unprecedented acts that otherwise fall through cracks. It is this granular detail that makes The List such a powerful and important book.

For everyone hoping to #resistTrump, The List is a must-have guide to what we as a country have lost in the wake of Trump's election. #Thisisnotnormal
We had become the land of flickering lights, in which the standard of success was not what we were doing for the next generation of Americans, or to enhance our role in the world, but instead whether we had kept government open for another few minutes.”—Michael Bennet

The Land of Flickering Lights is a unique contribution to American political writing at this or any other time. Senator Michael Bennet lifts a veil on the inner workings of Congress to reveal, in his words, “through a series of actual stories—about the people, the politics, the motives, the money, the hypocrisy, the stakes, the outcome—the pathological culture of the capital and the consequences for us all.”

Bennet unfolds the dramatic backstory behind five episodes crucial to the well-being of all Americans. Each of them exemplifies the hyper-partisan politics that have upended our democracy:

The highly politicized confirmation battles over judicial nominations at all levels—epitomized by ugly and unprincipled fights over seats on the Supreme Court; The passage of the Trump tax law, which massively increased our national debt and widened economic inequality across the country; The shredding of the Iran nuclear deal, which undermined our national security, caused friends and foes alike to doubt America’s word, and made a mockery of the longstanding bipartisan tradition in foreign policy; The pervasive corruption unleashed by “dark money” in policies and how big donors have been able to stymie urgent action on climate change and many other issues; The sabotage by a congressional minority of the “Gang of Eight’s” bi-partisan deal to reform America’s immigration policies, a deal that would have comprehensively addressed the immigration issues that bedevil us to this day.

With frankness and refreshing candor, and in elegant prose, Bennet pulls the machinations behind these episodes into full public view, shedding vital new light on our political dysfunction today. Arguing that each of us has a duty to act as a founder, he will inspire Americans of all political persuasions to demand that the “winners” of our political battles be all the American people, nor one party or the other.

 "A clear explanation of the workings of the United States government that should be required reading for politically engaged Americans." -- KIRKUS

Congressional Procedure explains the legislative and congressional budget processes along with all aspects of Congress.

This comprehensive guide to Congress is ideal for anyone who wants to know how Congress really works, including federal executives, attorneys, lobbyists, media and public affairs staff, government affairs, policy and budget analysts, congressional office staff and students.

Clear explanation of the legislative process, budget process, and House and Senate business

- Legislative process flowchart

- Explanation of the electoral college and votes by states

- Relationship between budget resolutions and appropriation and authorization bills

- Amendment tree and amendment procedures

- How members are assigned to committees

- Glossary of legislative terms

Each chapter concludes with Review Questions.

Chapter 1 examines the relationship between the U.S. Constitution and the House and Senate. It discusses Constitutional provisions that directly affect Congress. The makeup, roles and leadership of the House and Senate are compared and contrasted. Congressional committees and their place and power in the House and Senate are explored.

Chapter 2 begins with a discussion of why members submit legislation, explains the forms of legislation, and lays out the steps involved in drafting legislation. Bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions and simple House and Senate resolutions and their purposes are separately described. Ends with a flowchart of the legislative process.

In Chapter 3, the work of Congressional committees is examined in greater detail: types of committees and their structures; subcommittees; power of the chairs of committees; hearings, markups and amendment procedure in committee; and the reporting of legislation to the House and Senate floor.

Chapters 4 and 5 follow the course of legislation through the respective chambers and some of the more arcane elements of House and Senate floor action.

Chapter 4 addresses some of the unique characteristics of the House including the central and crucial role played by the Rules Committee and the special rules it reports. Scheduling, consideration, amending, and passage of legislation through the House is described in detail.

Chapter 5 discusses the handling of legislation on the Senate floor, including unique Senate characteristics like the filibuster, the nuclear option, holds, and the filling of the amendment tree.

Chapter 6 explains the various procedures for resolving differences in legislation between the Senate and the House.

The budget process is addressed in Chapter 7, including appropriations and authorization procedures, the 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act and the key role it has played since its adoption, the use of the optional budget reconciliation process, and the somewhat complex but crucial Byrd Rule.

Chapter 8 concludes the detail and analysis of Congressional procedure with a number of processes that are not strictly legislative, including a number of Constitutional responsibilities given to Congress such as oversight and investigation and advice and consent, counting of Electoral College ballots, and impeachment.

The conclusion, Chapter 9, describes the way in which many of the procedures explained in this book are increasingly being used, and some would say abused, in both the House and the Senate.

Glossary

Index

Also see related CRS Reports and links on TCNCPAM.com

For detailed Table of Contents, see CongressionalProcedure.com 


This “fascinating” (Chicago Tribune), “lively” (The New York Times) history tells how the First Congress and the Washington administration created one of the most productive and far-reaching governments in American history—“gracefully written…and well worth reading” (The Wall Street Journal).

The First Congress may have been the most important in American history because it established how our government would work. The Constitution was a broad set of principles that left undefined the machinery of government. Fortunately, far-sighted, brilliant, and determined men such as Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson (and others less well known today) labored to create a functioning government.

In The First Congress, award-winning author Fergus Bordewich brings to life the achievements of the First Congress: it debated and passed the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which we know as the Bill of Rights; admitted North Carolina and Rhode Island to the union when they belatedly ratified the Constitution, then admitted two new states, Kentucky and Vermont, establishing the procedure for admitting new states on equal terms with the original thirteen; chose the site of the national capital, a new city to be built on the Potomac; created a national bank to handle the infant republic’s finances; created the first cabinet positions and the federal court system; and many other achievements. But it avoided the subject of slavery, which was too contentious to resolve.

The First Congress takes us back to the days when the future of our country was by no means assured and makes “an intricate story clear and fascinating” (The Washington Post).
As Democrats and Republicans continue to vie for political advantage, Congress remains paralyzed by partisan conflict. That the last two decades have seen some of the least productive Congresses in recent history is usually explained by the growing ideological gulf between the parties, but this explanation misses another fundamental factor influencing the dynamic. In contrast to politics through most of the twentieth century, the contemporary Democratic and Republican parties compete for control of Congress at relative parity, and this has dramatically changed the parties’ incentives and strategies in ways that have driven the contentious partisanship characteristic of contemporary American politics.

With Insecure Majorities, Frances E. Lee offers a controversial new perspective on the rise of congressional party conflict, showing how the shift in competitive circumstances has had a profound impact on how Democrats and Republicans interact. For nearly half a century, Democrats were the majority party, usually maintaining control of the presidency, the House, and the Senate. Republicans did not stand much chance of winning majority status, and Democrats could not conceive of losing it. Under such uncompetitive conditions, scant collective action was exerted by either party toward building or preserving a majority. Beginning in the 1980s, that changed, and most elections since have offered the prospect of a change of party control. Lee shows, through an impressive range of interviews and analysis, how competition for control of the government drives members of both parties to participate in actions that promote their own party’s image and undercut that of the opposition, including the perpetual hunt for issues that can score political points by putting the opposing party on the wrong side of public opinion. More often than not, this strategy stands in the way of productive bipartisan cooperation—and it is also unlikely to change as long as control of the government remains within reach for both parties.
How did a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a thick accent become one of the most effective (and funniest) politicians of our time?

Growing up in Bayonne, New Jersey, the fourteen-year-old Barney Frank made two vital discoveries about himself: he was attracted to government, and to men. He resolved to make a career out of the first attraction and to keep the second a secret. Now, fifty years later, his sexual orientation is widely accepted, while his belief in government is embattled.

Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage is one man's account of the country's transformation—and the tale of a truly momentous career. Many Americans recall Frank's lacerating wit, whether it was directed at the Clinton impeachment ("What did the president touch, and when did he touch it?") or the pro-life movement (some people believe "life begins at conception and ends at birth"). But the contours of his private and public lives are less well-known. For more than four decades, he was at the center of the struggle for personal freedom and economic fairness. From the battle over AIDS funding in the 1980s to the debates over "big government" during the Clinton years to the 2008 financial crisis, the congressman from Massachusetts played a key role. In 2010, he coauthored the most far-reaching and controversial Wall Street reform bill since the era of the Great Depression, and helped bring about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

In this feisty and often moving memoir, Frank candidly discusses the satisfactions, fears, and grudges that come with elected office. He recalls the emotional toll of living in the closet and how his public crusade against homophobia conflicted with his private accommodation of it. He discusses his painful quarrels with allies; his friendships with public figures, from Tip O'Neill to Sonny Bono; and how he found love with his husband, Jim Ready, becoming the first sitting member of Congress to enter a same-sex marriage. He also demonstrates how he used his rhetorical skills to expose his opponents' hypocrisies and delusions. Through it all, he expertly analyzes the gifts a successful politician must bring to the job, and how even Congress can be made to work.

Frank is the story of an extraordinary political life, an original argument for how to rebuild trust in government, and a guide to how political change really happens—composed by a master of the art.

The "gripping and inspiring" true story (Washington Examiner) of how Congressman Steve Scalise survived a political mass shooting and returned to Congress with the help of his friends, family, and faith.
On the morning of June 14, 2017, at a practice field for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, a man opened fire on the Republican team, wounding five and nearly killing Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise.
In heart-pounding fashion, Scalise's minute-by-minute account tells not just his own harrowing story, but the stories of heroes who emerged in the seconds after the shooting began and worked to save his life and the lives of his colleagues and teammates.
Scalise delves into the backgrounds of each hero, seeking to understand how everyone wound up right where they needed to be, right when they needed to be there, and in possession of just the knowledge and experience they needed in order to save his life. Scalise takes us through each miracle, and each person who experienced it. He brings us the story of Rep. Brad Wenstrup, an Army Reserve officer and surgeon whose combat experience in Iraq uniquely prepared him for the attack that morning; of the members of his security detail, who acted with nearly cinematic courage; of the police, paramedics, helicopter pilots, and trauma team who came together to save his life.
Most important, it tells of the citizens from all over America who came together in ways big and small to help one grateful man, and whose prayers lifted up Scalise during the worst days of his hospitalization. As we follow the gripping, poignant, and ultimately inspiring story, we begin to realize what Scalise learned firsthand in real time: that Americans look out for each other, and that there is far more uniting us than dividing us.
Congress is the first branch of government in the American system, write Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, but now it is a broken branch, damaged by partisan bickering and internal rancor. The Broken Branch offers both a brilliant diagnosis of the cause of Congressional decline and a much-needed blueprint for change, from two experts who understand politics and revere our institutions, but believe that Congress has become deeply dysfunctional. Mann and Ornstein, two of the nations most renowned and judicious scholars of government and politics, bring to light the historical roots of Congress's current maladies, examining 40 years of uninterrupted Democratic control of the House and the stunning midterm election victory of 1994 that propelled Republicans into the majority in both House and Senate. The byproduct of that long and grueling but ultimately successful Republican campaign, the authors reveal, was a weakened institution bitterly divided between the parties. They highlight the dramatic shift in Congress from a highly decentralized, committee-based institution into a much more regimented one in which party increasingly trumps committee. The resultant changes in the policy process--the demise of regular order, the decline of deliberation, and the weakening of our system of checks and balances--have all compromised the role of Congress in the American Constitutional system. Indeed, Speaker Dennis Hastert has unabashedly stated that his primary responsibility is to pass the president's legislative program--identifying himself more as a lieutenant of the president than a steward of the house. From tax cuts to the war against Saddam Hussein to a Medicare prescription drug benefit, the legislative process has been bent to serve immediate presidential interests and have often resulted in poorly crafted and stealthily passed laws. Strong majority leadership in Congress, the authors conclude, led not to a vigorous exertion of congressional authority but to a general passivity in the face of executive power. A vivid portrait of an institution that has fallen far from the aspirations of our Founding Fathers, The Broken Branch highlights the costs of a malfunctioning Congress to national policymaking, and outlines what must be done to repair the damage.
In the popular imagination, slavery in the United States ended with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation may have been limited—freeing only slaves within Confederate states who were able to make their way to Union lines—but it is nonetheless generally seen as the key moment, with Lincoln’s leadership setting into motion a train of inevitable events that culminated in the passage of an outright ban: the Thirteenth Amendment.

The real story, however, is much more complicated—and dramatic—than that. With Who Freed the Slaves?, distinguished historian Leonard L. Richards tells the little-known story of the battle over the Thirteenth Amendment, and of James Ashley, the unsung Ohio congressman who proposed the amendment and steered it to passage. Taking readers to the floor of Congress and the back rooms where deals were made, Richards brings to life the messy process of legislation—a process made all the more complicated by the bloody war and the deep-rooted fear of black emancipation. We watch as Ashley proposes, fine-tunes, and pushes the amendment even as Lincoln drags his feet, only coming aboard and providing crucial support at the last minute. Even as emancipation became the law of the land, Richards shows, its opponents were already regrouping, beginning what would become a decades-long—and largely successful—fight to limit the amendment’s impact.

Who Freed the Slaves? is a masterwork of American history, presenting a surprising, nuanced portrayal of a crucial moment for the nation, one whose effects are still being felt today.
The presence of women in Congress is at an all-time high -- approximately one of every five members is female -- and record numbers of women are running for public office for the 2018 midterms. At the same time, Congress is more polarized than ever, and little research exists on how women in Congress view their experiences and contributions to American politics today. Drawing on personal interviews with over three-quarters of the women serving in the 114th Congress (2015-17), the authors analyze how these women navigate today's stark partisan divisions, and whether they feel effective in their jobs. Through first-person perspectives, A Seat at the Table looks at what motivates these women's legislative priorities and behavior, details the ways in which women experience service within a male-dominated institution, and highlights why it matters that women sit in the nation's federal legislative chambers. It describes the strategies women employ to overcome any challenges they confront as well as the opportunities available to them. The book examines how gender interacts with political party, race and ethnicity, seniority, chamber, and district characteristics to shape women's representational influence and behavior, finding that party and race/ethnicity are the two most complicating factors to a singular narrative of women's congressional representation. While congresswomen's perspectives, experiences, and influence are neither uniform nor interchangeable, they strongly believe their presence matters in myriad ways, affecting congressional culture, priorities, processes, debates, and outcomes.
The U.S. Constitution found in school textbooks and under glass in Washington is not the one enforced today by the Supreme Court. In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy Barnett argues that since the nation's founding, but especially since the 1930s, the courts have been cutting holes in the original Constitution and its amendments to eliminate the parts that protect liberty from the power of government. From the Commerce Clause, to the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has rendered each of these provisions toothless. In the process, the written Constitution has been lost.

Barnett establishes the original meaning of these lost clauses and offers a practical way to restore them to their central role in constraining government: adopting a "presumption of liberty" to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens when laws restrict their rightful exercises of liberty. He also provides a new, realistic and philosophically rigorous theory of constitutional legitimacy that justifies both interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning and, where that meaning is vague or open-ended, construing it so as to better protect the rights retained by the people.


As clearly argued as it is insightful and provocative, Restoring the Lost Constitution forcefully disputes the conventional wisdom, posing a powerful challenge to which others must now respond.


This updated edition features an afterword with further reflections on individual popular sovereignty, originalist interpretation, judicial engagement, and the gravitational force that original meaning has exerted on the Supreme Court in several recent cases.

From a dogged political reporter, an investigation into the political education of Mitch McConnell and an argument that this powerful Senator embodies much of this country’s political dysfunction.

Based on interviews with more than seventy-five people who have worked alongside Mitch McConnell or otherwise interacted with him over the course of his career, The Cynic, which will be published as an original ebook, is both a comprehensive biography of one of this country’s most powerful politicians and a damning diagnosis of this country's eroding political will.

Tracing his rise from a pragmatic local official in Kentucky to the leader of the Republican opposition in Washington, the book tracks McConnell’s transformation from a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and public employee unions to the embodiment of partisan obstructionism and conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill. Driven less by a shift in ideological conviction than by a desire to win elections and stay in power at all costs, McConnell’s transformation exemplifies the “permanent campaign” mindset that has come to dominate American government.

From his first race for local office in 1977—when the ad crew working on it nicknamed McConnell “love-me-love-me” for his insecurity and desire to please—to his fraught accommodation of the Tea Party, McConnell’s political career is a story of ideological calcification and a vital mirror for understanding this country’s own political development and what is wrought when politicians serve not at the behest of country, but at the behest of party and personal aggrandizement.
From the Affordable Care Act to No Child Left Behind, politicians often face a puzzling problem: although most Americans support the aims and key provisions of these policies, they oppose the bills themselves. How can this be? Why does the American public so often reject policies that seem to offer them exactly what they want?
By the time a bill is pushed through Congress or ultimately defeated, we’ve often been exposed to weeks, months—even years—of media coverage that underscores the unpopular process of policymaking, and Mary Layton Atkinson argues that this leads us to reject the bill itself. Contrary to many Americans’ understandings of the policymaking process, the best answer to a complex problem is rarely self-evident, and politicians must weigh many potential options, each with merits and drawbacks. As the public awaits a resolution, the news media tend to focus not on the substance of the debate but on descriptions of partisan combat. This coverage leads the public to believe everyone in Washington has lost sight of the problem altogether and is merely pursuing policies designed for individual political gain. Politicians in turn exacerbate the problem when they focus their objections to proposed policies on the lawmaking process, claiming, for example, that a bill is being pushed through Congress with maneuvers designed to limit minority party input. These negative portrayals become linked in many people’s minds with the policy itself, leading to backlash against bills that may otherwise be seen as widely beneficial. Atkinson argues that journalists and educators can make changes to help inoculate Americans against the idea that debate always signifies dysfunction in the government. Journalists should strive to better connect information about policy provisions to the problems they are designed to ameliorate. Educators should stress that although debate sometimes serves political interests, it also offers citizens a window onto the lawmaking process that can help them evaluate the work their government is doing.
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