Congress, Presidents, and American Politics: Fifty Years of Writings and Reflections

Lee H. Hamilton (Author)


When Lee H. Hamilton joined Congress in 1965 as a US Representative from southern Indiana, he began writing commentaries for his constituents describing his experiences, impressions, and developing views of what was right and wrong in American politics. He continued to write regularly throughout his 34 years in office and up to the present. Lively and full of his distinctive insights, Hamilton's essays provide vivid accounts of national milestones over the past fifty years: from the protests of the Sixties, the Vietnam War, and the Great Society reforms, through the Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs, to the post-9/11 years as the vice chairman of the 9/11 commission. Hamilton offers frank and sometimes surprising reflections on Congress, the presidency, and presidential character from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama. He argues that there are valuable lessons to be learned from past years, when Congress worked better than it does now. Offering history, politics, and personal reflections all at once, this book will appeal to everyone interested in understanding America of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Product Details

$35.00  $32.20
Indiana University Press
Publish Date
April 18, 2016
6.2 X 1.1 X 9.2 inches | 1.4 pounds
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About the Author

Lee Hamilton is a Distinguished Scholar at Indiana University. He was a member of the US House of Representatives for 34 years and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission. In 2015, Hamilton was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is author of many books, including How Congress Works and Why You Should Care (IUP, 2004) and Strengthening Congress (IUP, 2009).


"Hamilton provides a solid look at the thinking, actions, and failures from the Lyndon Johnson years to the present.... Hamilton's views on politicians might just renew some readers' faith in our elected officials. At once encouraging and enlightening, his writings stir hope, and what he says is still important all these years later.... The book--essentially an encapsulation of the author's philosophy of politics and politicians--is a good choice for those who want to believe in government again."

--Kirkus Reviews

"[R]eaders who expect dry-as-dust policy analysis or self-serving political pablum will be surprised by this delightful collection. Hamilton does far more than reproduce the original newsletters, which were written to explain current issues and Congressional procedures for the folks back home. Each newsletter is accompanied by Hamilton's insightful, often humorous, reminiscences."

--Bloom Magazine

"A brief review cannot do justice to Hamilton's fine book. Readers familiar with his record will find few
surprises in his championing of civic engagement, reasoned debate, political moderation, checks and balances, and responsible governance. Others will find a brief introduction to the career, thoughts, and life's work of an important legislative leader during a particularly transformative period in American history. Congress, Presidents, and American Politics deserves a wide audience."

--Indiana Magazine of History

"His writings will appeal to everyone interested in understanding America in the 20th and 21st centuries."

--Indiana University Alumni Magazine