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  • Mike Martinez

New Book: Congressional Giants Has Been Published and Is Now Available

I am pleased to announce that my 14th book, Congressional Giants: Influential Leaders of Congress and How They Shaped American History, published by Lexington Books, is now available. Copies can be ordered from these fine establishments:

It is an academic book, and the price can be daunting—$95.00 before discounts—so I know that most folks won’t pay that much money to buy the book. If you ask your local public library or university library to purchase a copy, however, that would be helpful!

Congressional Giants is the second volume in a trilogy on the history of famous members of Congress. Lexington Books published the first volume, Congressional Lions: Trailblazing Members of Congress and How They Shaped American History, in October 2019. The third volume, Congressional Pathfinders: First Members of Congress and How They Shaped American History, will be published either later this year, or early in 2021.

Here is the publisher’s description of the book: “The Congress of the United States operates in the shadow of the American presidency, which can make the legislative branch appear less important than the executive in our constitutional system of government. And yet Congress is a co-equal branch of government, deriving its powers from Article I of the United States Constitution. Love it or hate it, the institution is a source of incredible power. It behooves all Americans to learn more about Congress. Although a single slender volume cannot provide information on all there is to know about Congress, it can begin the journey. In Congressional Giants, political scientist J. Michael Martinez explores the careers and achievements of 14 influential leaders of Congress—men who either held formal positions within the chambers of Congress, such as speaker of the House of Representatives or Senate majority leader, or who served on important committees--to determine how they shaped the course of American history.

Historic figures covered in the book include:

Chapter 1: The Great Triumvirate—Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun

Chapter 2: Stephen A. Douglas

Chapter 3: Thomas B. Reed

Chapter 4: Joseph G. Cannon

Chapter 5: Nicholas Longworth

Chapter 6: Robert A. Taft

Chapter 7: Sam Rayburn

Chapter 8: Richard B. Russell, Jr.

Chapter 9: Everett Dirksen

Chapter 10: Lyndon B. Johnson

Chapter 11: Mike Mansfield

Chapter 12: Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr.

One final point concerns the book cover. The drawing on the front is by Clifford Berryman, a well-known cartoonist early in the 20th century. Berryman drew the cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt refusing to shoot a small bear on a hunting trip in 1902. The cartoon served as the inspiration for a candy-shop owner to start manufacturing a stuffed animal he called “Teddy’s Bear.” Eventually, it was shortened to “teddy bear,” which we still have today. The back story is discussed here: Theodore Roosevelt Center.

Anyway, Berryman’s drawing on the cover of Congressional Giants shows three “giant” members of Congress discussed in the book—Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun. Berryman drew the sketch in 1931, but, as far as I know, he never published it. The drawing was eventually deposited into the Library of Congress archives. Berryman died in 1949. I found the drawing in the archives a few years ago. It was unbelievably difficult to track down the copyright. My effort to gain permission to publish was a story unto itself, perhaps for another time.

In closing, thanks to all my followers and readers for their support!

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