John William McCormack: A Political Biography (Hardback)
  • John William McCormack: A Political Biography (Hardback)
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John William McCormack: A Political Biography (Hardback)

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£35.00
Hardback 928 Pages / Published: 23/03/2017
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In the first biography of U.S. House Speaker John W. McCormack, author Garrison Nelson uncovers previously forgotten FBI files, birth and death records, and correspondence long thought lost or buried. For such an influential figure, McCormack tried to dismiss the past, almost erasing his legacy from the public's mind. John William McCormack: A Political Biography sheds light on the behind-the-curtain machinations of American politics and the origins of the modern-day Democratic party, facilitated through McCormack's triumphs. McCormack overcame desperate poverty and family tragedy in the Irish ghetto of South Boston to hold the second-most powerful position in the nation. By reinventing his family history to elude Irish Boston's powerful political gatekeepers, McCormack embarked on a 1928 - 1971 House career and from 1939-71, the longest house leadership career. Working with every president from Coolidge to Nixon, McCormack's social welfare agenda, which included Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, immigration reform, and civil rights legislation helped commit the nation to the welfare of its most vulnerable citizens. By helping create the Austin-Boston Connection, McCormack reshaped the Democratic Party from a regional southern white Protestant party to one that embraced urban religiously and racially diverse ethnics. A man free of prejudice, John McCormack was the Boston Brahmin's favorite Irishman, the South's favorite northerner, and known in Boston as "Rabbi John," the Jews' favorite Catholic.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
ISBN: 9781628925166
Number of pages: 928
Weight: 1616 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 64 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Garrison Nelson's "John William McCormack'' is a brilliant portrait not only of Boston's Forgotten Man but also of the place that spawned him (the Irish enclaves of Boston) and of the era he occupied (from the New Deal to the Great Society). It shimmers with gems of historical insight ... and with breathtaking mastery of the local landscape, political and physical. * The Boston Globe *
In summarizing McCormack's career, Mr. Nelson faults what veteran political correspondent Warren Weaver called "the dead hand of seniority" that placed him in the speaker's chair too late. "Speaker John McCormack was a classic example of a good man that the House wore out before it gave him power," wrote Weaver. At the same time, Mr. Nelson is generous enough to allow McCormack the last word. "If I were given a choice," observed Rabbi John, "I would rather be known as a good man than a great man." Never sacrificing his intellectual integrity, Garrison Nelson has seen to it that McCormack's wish is granted. * The Wall Street Journal *
[An] intriguing overview of 20th-century America. Looking for tidbits about the lives and times of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Adlai Stevenson, Sam Rayburn, J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy, Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and more? This is the place. * VTDigger.org *
This labor of love is not only an excellent contribution to our understanding of the role of individual leaders in the political process, it is also a fitting tribute to the contribution of a true scholar to the discipline of political science. * The New England Journal of Political Science *
This massive tome (910 pages) provides the first biography of former House Speaker John McCormack. Through McCormack's long 42-year political career, the reader is introduced to the major political players and issues of the day. The book gives a feel for the handling of key issues between 1928 and 1971, such as World War II, Social Security, Vietnam, civil rights, and Medicare ... Carefully researched, cited, and written, the book provides a behind-the-scenes view of how politics works. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students through faculty. * CHOICE *
This is the definitive biography of John McCormack, a key figure in U.S. national politics from the 1930s through the 1960s. The book is deeply sourced, full of interesting material, and written in lively, engaging fashion. It addresses congressional politics, Congress-presidency relations, and electoral politics, not to mention the dynastic political life of the state of Massachusetts. * David R. Mayhew, Sterling Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Yale University, USA *
Over the course of a long and notable congressional career, John W. McCormack was present and influential well before his nine significant years as Speaker. Written with texture and imagination, this wonderful biography of one of the 20th century's most important political figures by a leading student of Congress deftly captures McCormack's personality, talents, and political capacity with depth and incisiveness. * Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University, USA *
I picked up this book expecting to find the best work ever written about Speaker John McCormack, yet Garrison Nelson has done so much more. This is a masterpiece among political biographies, as Nelson deftly handles a tremendous range of characters and national challenges. * David C. King, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Faculty Chair, Master in Public Administration Programs, Harvard University, USA *
Garrison Nelson's intention in this book about John McCormack was to make sure we did not forget John and in this he has admirably succeeded. His portrayal of McCormack is sensitive to the man - especially appealing is his modesty, as he did not want to be the Speaker - and to the difficulties of keeping a liberal northern Democratic and conservative southern Democratic party together in troubling times. His chapter on the Boston-Austin connection is especially enlightening about how the Democratic party was kept together. However, for me the best part of the book is that it vividly brings back a House of Representatives where compromise, cross party friendships, and a certain level of decorum ruled - a stark contrast to today's House of Representatives. Younger scholars need to read this book to see how things were, and older ones will want to remember the way things were. * David W. Brady, Professor of Political Economy and Davies Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, USA *
The most important powerbroker you have never heard of finally comes back to life in this, savvy, meticulously researched, and fascinating biography. John William McCormack served in the House of Representatives from 1928 to 1971. He left a powerful mark on the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the list goes on. In this much-anticipated work, Garrison Nelson captures the great politician, a bygone political era, and the ways America used to work. Highly recommended for both scholars and citizens. * James A Morone, author of The Democratic Wish, Hellfire Nation, and The Devils We Know and John Hazen White Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, Brown University, USA *

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