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The Dance of Legislation: An Insider's Account of the Workings of the United States Senate

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  117 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The Dance of Legislation has long been considered a classic description of the legislative process. In it, Eric Redman draws on his two years as a member of Senator Warren Magnuson's staff to trace the drafting and passing of a piece of legislation -- S.4106, the National Health Service Bill -- with all the maneuvers, plots, counterplots, frustrations, triumphs, and sheer ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by University of Washington Press (first published January 1st 1973)
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Frank Stein
Sep 04, 2013 Frank Stein rated it it was amazing

I've been reading a lot of legislative histories recently: "Showdown at Gucci Gulch" (on the 1986 Tax Reform Act), "How a Bill Becomes Law" (on the 1960 Civil Rights Act), "Act of Congress" (on the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act), "Pure Food" (on the 1906 Food and Drug Act). I've enjoyed all of these immensely, but they often tend to blur together. Like baseball, the passing of legislation follows some very strict rules, that vary only a little over time, and the excitement in each game or act really comes
Kenneth Hayes Geary
Mar 06, 2013 Kenneth Hayes Geary rated it really liked it
The process of taking an idea and making it into legislation is something that the average American citizen does not understand. To help the American people better understand the difficulty of getting anything done in Congress Eric Redman published the book “The Dance of Legislation”. Redman a former legislative assistant to democratic Senator Warren Magnuson took us step by step through the legislative process of creating the bill for the National Health Service Corps (S.4106). This book is en ...more
Donna McKereghan
Feb 27, 2016 Donna McKereghan rated it it was amazing
I use this book over and over again to loan out to folks who want to know how the system REALLY works. Wrote a companion piece for it during my doctoral studies titled "The Dance of Administration" and drew the parallels to the things I discovered reading this book. THEN, I had the opportunity of a brief email chat with the author. Amazing! I'll use this book for the rest of my life to educate other citizens, for sure!
Sep 14, 2013 Gregpantell rated it really liked it
A surprisingly interesting read, details legislative process through they eyes of they author, congressional clerk who writes about this sometimes dry subject with humor and charm. Sometimes (unavoidably) too technical but informative, the author’s wit highlights this book.
Will be valuable for fans of legislative history. Deals with public health legislation, congressional staffers, Warren Magnuson.

John Maniscalco
Nov 30, 2010 John Maniscalco rated it it was amazing
By far the best and most entertaining book on how a bill becomes a law. This does not give you the constitutional formula for the lawmaking process but rather presents a real world example of the politics, negotiations, and coalitions that need to be built in order to pass legislation. Though a little outdated since the collapse of regular order, it is still the greatest resource available on the subject.
Jun 05, 2013 Rebekah rated it it was ok
Was easy enough to understand and I was able to find some of the things they said happened in this book amusing. Had to read this for government, if I had the choice I probably wouldn't have read it. But it wasn't a bad book to read.
Apr 17, 2007 Jenn rated it it was amazing
This is the book that solidified my interest in politics. It's a great account of what really happens in Washington!
May 11, 2010 Jeff rated it it was ok
An educational look at the legislative process, but a bit on the dry side--even for a policy wonk like me.
Sep 01, 2010 Ross rated it it was amazing
The best book written in the 20th century on how legisaltion is handled in Congress. Lovers of Robert Caro's books will love this one! I have read it each decade since 1977.
Melissa Gastorf
Apr 06, 2013 Melissa Gastorf rated it liked it
Just as you think that the bill will be passed something else happens. A should read for someone interested in politics
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Jul 15, 2010 Gregory rated it liked it
Brilliantly useful, if it was still before 1980.
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