Beginning with Frederick Muhlenberg in 1789 and stretching to Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, this new reference work provides unique coverage of this important political position. Presiding over the House of Representatives and second the United States presidential line of succession, this position has particular influence over US politics. Thoughtfully-written Biographies of each of the 52 Speakers of the House, all with photos. Several full-length Essays, each covering an interesting and thought-provoking topic pertinent to the formation, history and current events surrounding the Speaker.
"Mark Grossman's biographical dictionary provides detailed portraits of the 53 individuals who have served as Speaker of the House. Each chronologically arranged entry examines the politician's personal history, their early years in Congress and the manner by which they became speaker. Their tenure as speaker and later careers also are described. Each entry includes a portrait and suggestions for further research. The author also provides biographies of Thomas Stanley Bocock, who served as speaker of the Confederate House of Representatives, Samuel Sullivan Cox, who served as Speaker pro tempore during the lengthy illnesses of Speaker Michael Kerr and four other men who served for less than a day. The biographies are supplemented with a series of historical essays, including outlines of English and colonial precedents for the office and historical surveys of the development of the role of speaker. A selection of 27 primary source documents illuminates the workings of Congress and the process of choosing a speaker. Unfortunately, this useful historical survey of American politics and Congressional leadership is marred by occasionally careless copyediting. Nonetheless, this guide will ably serve high school, public and academic library users."
--Lawrence Looks at Books, July 2009
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