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Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works

Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works

3.2 5
by Henry Waxman

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At a time when some of the most sweeping national initiatives in decades are being debated, Congressman Henry Waxman offers a fascinating inside account of how Congress really works by describing the subtleties and complexities of the legislative process.

For four decades, Waxman has taken visionary and principled positions on crucial issues and been a driving


At a time when some of the most sweeping national initiatives in decades are being debated, Congressman Henry Waxman offers a fascinating inside account of how Congress really works by describing the subtleties and complexities of the legislative process.

For four decades, Waxman has taken visionary and principled positions on crucial issues and been a driving force for change. Because of legislation he helped champion, our air is cleaner, our food is safer, and our medical care better. Thanks to his work as a top watchdog in Congress, crucial steps have been taken to curb abuses on Wall Street, to halt wasteful spending in Iraq, and to ban steroids from Major League Baseball. Few legislators can match his accomplishments or his insights on how good work gets done in Washington.

In this book, Waxman affords readers a rare glimpse into how this is achieved-the strategy, the maneuvering, the behind-the-scenes deals. He shows how the things we take for granted (clear information about tobacco's harmfulness, accurate nutritional labeling, important drugs that have saved countless lives) started out humbly-derided by big business interests as impossible or even destructive. Sometimes, the most dramatic breakthroughs occur through small twists of fate or the most narrow voting margin. Waxman's stories are surprising because they illustrate that while government's progress may seem glacial, much is happening, and small battles waged over years can yield great results.

At a moment when so much has been written about what's wrong with Congress-the grid­lock, the partisanship, the influence of interest groups-Henry Waxman offers sophisticated, concrete examples of how govern­ment can (and should) work.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

After 35 years in the House of Representatives, Waxman, the mustached congressman from California, offers a very readable insider's account of his 35 years in the House. The longtime governmental watchdog crusaded for AIDS awareness, the Clean Air Act and stronger tobacco regulations as chairman of the Health and Environment subcommittee. The book chronicles the strategies and horse trading necessary to enact these regulations, including coalition building, raising public awareness and remaining informed on the countless issues affecting his constituency. Waxman doesn't romanticize his position, and admits that the qualities that have best served him have been "patience, a knack for finding allies... and the ability to persevere." His conviction that government can better the lives of citizens is uplifting and strengthened by his record of implementing landmark legislation. The book frequently reads too much like a civics lesson to be fully engrossing, but the explanation of the workings of a widely misunderstood government body is a public service from a committed civil servant. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stine has written 56 YA novels and one adult novel, all horror. Readers will recognize this as the adult novel because it's hardcover and several characters in it curse, enjoy X-rated sex and die gruesomely detailed deaths. Otherwise, this simple, sturdy story of occult mayhem on a bucolic college campus features the sort of crude yet functional casting, plotting and prose that have made Stine America's bestselling YA author: characters verge on caricature, for easy identification; stormy nights and cliff-hangers abound; and no-frills prose, arranged in short sentences and paragraphs for speed reading, tells the tale (``The fingers stab deep. Her eyeballs make a soft plop plop as they are pried out''). Even those with minimal attention spans will keep turning pages as grad student Sara Morgan meets and marries hunky prof Liam Morgan. So what if Liam has a murky past, lives with his sister and takes his field-Irish folklore-so seriously that he throws salt over his shoulder for good luck and cringes in terror when a black cat jumps on his lap? Does that mean he's involved in the brutal mutilation-murders that are plaguing Moore State? Stine shakes a finger at two other suspects but doesn't reveal the reason for the bloodletting until novel's end. And that's just as well since, like the rest of this story, the underlying premise is about as sophisticated, though as effective, as jumping out from a dark corner and yelling ``boo!'' Major ad/promo; film rights to Miramax (Brandon Tartikoff, producer); Time/Warner audio due in October; author tour. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Stine, whose spooky, best-selling tales are legend among children and YAs, has written his first adult novel, a story of love, college, folklore, and serial murder.
School Library Journal
YA-In his first adult book, Stine continues his page-turning incorporation of horror, the supernatural, and a naive heroine. Short sentences and a relatively simple plot will capture the attention of YAs in this tale of love (or is it self-centered delight in apparent adoration and sexual gratification?) before the horror takes over. Sara Morgan, fleeing an abusive relationship, returns to Moore State College for a masters in psychology. Swept off her feet by Liam O'Connor, a glamorous and brilliant visiting professor of folklore, she soon becomes his devoted wife. She views her husband's adherence to supersititon fondly at first, but gradually finds it wearing and extreme. Liam tells her his behavior keeps the demons at bay. In fact, their first argument involves supersitition, as does the shocking circumstance of their final estrangement. The book is a long way from ``Fear Street'' (Pocket), and sure to be as popular.-Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Sue-Ellen Beauregard
According to "USA Today", immensely popular juvenile mystery writer Stine " sold the most books of any author in America" in 1994. Now Stine turns to adult horror fiction. Still reeling from a failed love affair with her abusive boyfriend, 24-year-old Sara Morgan enrolls as a graduate student at a small Pennsylvania college, where she meets and falls in love with world-renowned Irish folklore scholar Liam O'Connor. The couple marries, and life is idyllic except for O'Connor's obsession with superstitions and his strict adherence to rituals. Seemingly unconnected but equally disturbing is the fact that a series of gruesome murders is occurring on campus. When Sara learns that her enigmatic husband knew all the victims, she wisely begins to fear for her own safety. Readers who can accept scary supernatural beings and evil demons as forces to be reckoned with will find this a satisfying, although somewhat superficial, page-turner. Expect high demand.
Kirkus Reviews
How does Congress work? With utmost difficulty, reveals longtime House member Waxman-but those who hold it in low regard, he adds, "lack a full appreciation for what Congress really does."The author arrived from California to the U.S. Congress as a member of the "Class of 1974," the first post-Watergate group of representatives. It was a time of great reform, as former student activists and civil libertarians pressed agendas to move civil rights, women's rights, environmental protection and other programs forward in the face of slowly dwindling resistance from the old guard. (One, writes Waxman, was a Virginia representative who "had managed to block civil rights legislation for years by refusing to allow bills to go to the floor for a vote.") Having swept the old-timers aside, the youthful vanguard-now the liberal establishment-specialized, with Waxman steadily developing a comprehensive program of health-care reform and championing causes such as AIDS research and treatment (against vigorous Republican opposition) and, recently, tobacco regulation (ditto). He has been helped over these four decades by holding a safe seat-meaning, he says, "I didn't need to raise much money for my own reelection," but instead was able to contribute to the election of like-minded allies-as well as a useful ability to forge coalitions. Reading between the lines, it seems that Waxman has also been well served by simply paying attention, reacting to events as they unfold. Examples include regulations on the chemical industry following the 1984 Bhopal disaster to the inexorably turning tide against smoking-and, pointedly, a singularly evil tobacco industry ("To ensure increased and longer-term growth forCamel Filter . . . the brand must increase its share penetration among the 14-24 age group"). A welcome look at the internal workings of the legislative branch-essential for political junkies.
From the Publisher
"A very readable insider's account of [Waxman's] 35 years in the House... the explanation of the workings of a widely misunderstood government body is a public service from a committed civil servant."—Publishers Weekly

A welcome look at the internal workings of the legislative branch— essential for political junkies.—Kirkus

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Grand Central Publishing
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Hachette Digital, Inc.
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362 KB

What People are Saying About This

James Patterson
Terrifying...moves along at trip-hammer speed.

Meet the Author

Congressman Henry Waxman has represented the Los Angeles area of California since 1974. He is the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. During his thirty-plus years in Congress, he has helped craft landmark legislation addressing health and the environment.

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Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
BerkeleyBob More than 1 year ago
Henry Waxman is easier to respect than to like. His book is a useful primer on how the legislative process works and he has some important reforms under his belt. There is a certain element of self-congratulation in the book, but based on his performance on CNN in hearings, he is an incisive interrogator and no-one to cross. He believes that government can accomplish good things with a positive effect on ordinary people and regrets the loss of confidence and element of irrationality becoming more prevalent in current debate. He has not been able to make any headway against the powerful NRA lobby, but has achieved the bureaucratic regulation of tobacco by the flawed FDA. Worthwhile and earnest in tone.
gwazdos More than 1 year ago
This book was the best read for me in July 09. The books describes in detail how and why Congress works as it does. I learn a lot from his book and the process of legislation. I recommend this book. Congress needs more people like Henry Waxman in Congress and less Repugs that only work to provide comfort to their Lobbyist!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bukkaboom More than 1 year ago
If Waxman was at all honest, he would have written about cowering to a party line rather than voting your conscience; he would have written about the power of special-interest dollars and how that easily sways how a politician votes. Heck, he would have covered how disgusted America is at the entire political spectrum, party affiliation aside, and the arrogance of Washington. Until he does, this book is good to take camping in the off-chance you run out of toilet paper on the trail.