The Last Great Senate by Ira Shapiro
Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis

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Synopsis

Journalists have called the U.S. Senate an empty chamber; politicians have lamented that the institution is broken—yet the Senate was once capable of greatness. Senators of the 1960s and ’70s overcame southern opposition to civil rights, passed Great Society legislation, and battled the executive branch on Vietnam, Watergate, and its abuses of power. The right’s sweep of the 1980 elections shattered that Senate, leaving a diminished institution in its wake.

Ira Shapiro spent 12 years working for Senators Gaylord Nelson, Abraham Ribicoff, Thomas Eagleton, Robert Byrd, and Jay Rockefeller. The Last Great Senate is his vivid portrait of the statesmen who helped steer America during the crisis years of the late 1970s, transcending partisanship and overcoming procedural roadblocks that have all but strangled the Senate since their departure. The Last Great Senate is necessary reading for all those who wonder how the Senate used to work and what happened to the world’s greatest deliberative body.

 

About Ira Shapiro

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Ira Shapiro came to Washington in 1975 and spent 12 years working in senior positions in the Senate, playing important roles in accomplishments as diverse as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Senate Code of Ethics, and completing the Metrorail system. During the Clinton administration, he served as a leading U.S. trade negotiator, ultimately earning the rank of ambassador. He lives in Potomac, Maryland.
 
Published February 14, 2012 by PublicAffairs. 513 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Despite Carter’s tendency to circumvent legislators’ input altogether, Byrd’s diverse, youngish, dynamic Senate passed the ethics code, met the energy crisis, deregulated airlines, raised the minimum wage, passed the Panama Canal treaties, took on labor law reform, saved New York City and Chrysle...

Dec 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Last Great Senate: Courag...

Publishers Weekly

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Shapiro ably paints the political stumbles of the “outsider” administration of President Jimmy Carter in dealing with a congressional powerhouse consisting of senators Robert Byrd, Howard Baker, Ted Kennedy, Jacob Javits, Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Richard Lugar, and George McGovern.

Dec 12 2011 | Read Full Review of The Last Great Senate: Courag...

The Washington Times

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Political buffs, especially older ones, tend to wax nostalgic about the so-called "good old days" when tensions were lower and cooperation and comity were higher.

May 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Great Senate: Courag...

Christian Science Monitor

By Kevin Hartnett / February 15, 2012 In a 2010 cover story for The Atlantic James Fallows posed the question, “Is America going to hell?” His answer was a tentative, “yes,” and the chief reason he...

Feb 15 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Great Senate: Courag...

Open Letters Monthly

He believes that “the experience that many members of the Great Senate shared by serving in World War II profoundly influenced their lives and shaped their public service.” This is undoubtedly true, but Shapiro, who can become too enamored of his subjects and too focused on personality, thinks th...

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City Book Review

According to Shapiro, 2011 marked a half century since Johnson left the Senate and the Senate became great again only after his departure.

Jun 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Great Senate: Courag...

St. Louis Today

Today is the High Holy Day of American Consumption, the day when we gather with friends and family and discuss which companies are doing the b… Small investors suddenly are buying stocks again.

Mar 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Great Senate: Courag...

Bookmarks Magazine

The Last Great Senate is his vivid portrait of the statesmen who helped steer America during the crisis years of the late 1970s, transcending partisanship and overcoming procedural roadblocks that have all but strangled the Senate since their departure.

Feb 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Great Senate: Courag...

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