The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Donald A. Ritchie
Narrator: Bob Dunsworth
Many scholars believe that the framers of the Constitution intended Congress to be the preeminent branch of government. Indeed, no other legislature in the world approaches its power. Yet most Americans have only a murky idea of how it works. In The U.S. Congress, Donald A. Ritchie, a congressional historian for more than thirty years, takes readers on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of Capitol Hill--pointing out the key players, explaining their behavior, and translating parliamentary language into plain English. No mere civics lesson, this eye-opening book provides an insider's perspective on Congress, matched with a professional historian's analytical insight. After a swift survey of the creation of Congress by the constitutional convention, he begins to unscrew the nuts and pull out the bolts. What is it like to campaign for congress? To attract large donors? To enter either house with no seniority? He answers these questions and more, explaining committee assignments (and committee work), the role of staffers and lobbyists, floor proceedings, parliamentary rules, and coalition building. Ritchie explores the great effort put into constituent service--as representatives and senators respond to requests from groups and individuals--as well as media relations and news coverage. He also explores how the grand concepts we all know from civics class--checks and balances, advise and consent, congressional oversight--work in practice, in an age of strong presidents and a muscular Senate minority (no matter which party is in that position). In this sparkling addition to Oxford's Very Short Introduction series, Donald Ritchie moves beyond the cynicism and the platitudes to provide a gem of a portrait of how Congress really works.
Listened for Fun (Audible)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Audio Rating: 4.00 (not part of the overall rating)
Quick Thoughts: If you are looking for a quick refresher course on how our Congress works, then this book is for you. It was a great and quick review of the basics of Congress. It was also pretty up to date (though rules are subject to change at times). This was exactly what I needed.
Narrated By Bob Dunsworth / Length: 4 hrs and 33 mins
Bob Dunsworth was a great narrator for this subject matter. He kept you both invested and made everything easy to follow.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2017 Goodreads Challenge
- 2017 My Books