Special Interests: How Lobbyists Influence Legislation

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Beth Karpas
Usually, Millbrook is one of those publishers whose books you can predict. They are well-written general introductions to nonfiction topics for junior and senior high school students. That is not the case with this book, which reads like a laundry list of the lobby industry's faults, with only an occasional consumer lobby thrown in for balance. In addition, the arrangement of this laundry list is confusing. Chapters contain loosely linked subchapters arranged in rough chronological order. However, in the discussion of the agriculture lobbies, the author jumps from 1963 to a present-tense discussion about agriculture committees in Congress, and then back to 1969. The jumps in time and tense are connected by neither sentence structure nor content, making this difficult subject matter even more confusing. In another chapter, Archer discusses Kansas Representative Sam Brownback's attempts to eliminate subsidies to major corporations for overseas advertising. The discussion, however, is limited to the sentence, "But when he tried to eliminate the program, he found that lobbyists had stymied his attempt." How did they stymie his attempt? The reader never finds out because the next sentence starts a new paragraph about a California agribusiness lobby. Archer succeeds in covering a wide range of lobbying interests, but the coverage is neither balanced nor complete, and the presentation is confusing. This book is not recommended. Index. Illus. Biblio. Source Notes. VOYA Codes: 2Q 1P J S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q, No YA will read unless forced to for assignments, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9Archer looks at the often unpleasant business of lobbying and its largely negative effects on our country's democratic processes. He begins with a definition of the practice and traces its history, and then discusses the operations, both past and current, of some of the most powerful interest groups. He concludes with a plan for reform. Although this is certainly a timely topic, numerous weaknesses limit this book's effectiveness. Organization within chapters is often poor. The narrative does not flow smoothly and many segments read as a series of disjointed accounts, with paragraphs about current problems and practices following those about historical events without transitions. A larger flaw is Archer's lack of objectivity. Although he makes some criticisms of Democrats and liberal groups, he reserves his strongest condemnations for the Republican-controlled Congress, whose ethical violations he cites frequently. He refers to the G.O.P.'s "Contract with America" as "ultraconservative legislation," and is also disparaging of virtually all business lobbying as well as the efforts of conservative groups such as the National Rifle Association. Another problem is the author's overuse of current examples, which will quickly date the book; today's ethical offenses will inevitably be replaced with new ones. Black-and-white reproductions of editorial cartoons are generally well chosen. Although this topic has received much media attention recently, this title adds little to the debate. Schools needing report materials about special interests and the democratic process will be better served by Cass Sandak's Lobbying (21st Century Bks., 1995).Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761300601
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Series: Single Titles Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.67 (d)

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