POWER IN THE HOUSE: A History of the Leadership of the House of Representatives by Richard Bolling

POWER IN THE HOUSE: A History of the Leadership of the House of Representatives

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KIRKUS REVIEW

During his twenty years on the Democratic side of the House, Bolling has written two other books about its power structure and the need for reform. This one looks back on the salad days of the never-static institution and traces the changes which have made the House a receptacle for executive proposals and a repository of conservative influence. Much of the history is fascinating; so are Bolling's remarks on the committee system, methods of supporting a bill for the record while helping to kill it, and other intramural lore. Bolling maintains that strong Speakers are necessary; his chronicle stresses their role, with disappointing effect, particularly when he slides over Rayburn's wheelings and dealings. The review of the last ten Congresses is valuable, however; Bolling shows how the ""Democrats in name only"" joined with Republicans to suffocate the civil rights and social welfare measures which, says Bolling, if enacted in the '40's and '50's would have precluded our present mess. On the subject of Congressional ethics, he is far milder than other recent critics. The book is uneven and inadequately footnoted, energetic but rather superficial.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1968
Publisher: Dutton