Audiobook Review: The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Donald A. Ritchie

Posted April 10, 2017 by Felicia S in 2017 Read, 4.00 Wine Glasses, Audiobook, Reviews / 8 Comments

Audiobook Review: The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Donald A. RitchieSource: Audiobook Purchase

Format: Audiobook

The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Donald A. Ritchie
Narrator: Bob Dunsworth
Genre: Non-Fiction

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.

More Information:

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.

Audio Thoughts:

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.

Part of my Read It, Rate It, File It, DONE! Reviews


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Overall Rating
4 / 5
Narrator Rating
4 / 5
Felicia S
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8 responses to “Audiobook Review: The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction by Donald A. Ritchie

  1. I’m almost done with my Presidential podcast so this would be a good one to start next. And it would qualify as an audio book! lol

    • This actually would be good since it is short, non-fiction (so you can stop/start as needed) and really a good refresher course πŸ™‚

  2. Interesting. I would be curious to know his feelings about what is recently going on and how some of the checks and balances are being put aside (gerrymandering, the recent nuclear option). Hm… might be something I need as well.