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Mr. Speaker!: The Life and Times of Thomas B. Reed The Man Who Broke the Filibuster

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  95 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
James Grant’s enthralling biography of Thomas B. Reed, Speaker of the House during one of the most turbulent times in American history—the Gilded Age, the decades before the ascension of reformer President Theodore Roosevelt—brings to life one of the brightest, wittiest, and most consequential political stars in our history.

The last decades of the nineteenth century were
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ebook, 448 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Simon Schuster
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Arminius
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nook-book
Thomas B. Reed served two separate terms as Speaker of the House of Representatives. He served as Speaker during the presidencies of Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland and William McKinley. Ironically he resembled President Cleveland being a little bit larger in physical stature with a 6 feet tall 300 pounds frame.

Reed was born and raised in the state of Maine. He attended Bowdoin College, earned a law degree and served in the Navy during the Civil war. He was very bright with an incredible wi
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Joe
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Thomas Reed, (1839-1902), was a Republican Congressman from Maine, serving from 1877-1899, and was Speaker of the House during the Presidential terms of both Grover Cleveland and William McKinley. Reed was arguably one of the more influential/powerful politicians to hold that position, nicknamed “Czar” Reed during his tenure. He then resigned from that lofty position and the House of Representatives in 1899, frustrated with his lack of power after the country went to war against Spain - a bold s ...more
Converse

James Grant has written an entertaining biography of the Maine Republican who was Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives for part of the 1890s and was elected to the House for about 20 years in the decades after the Civil War. The "filibuster" referred to was a different procedure than the Senate filibuster, but with the same object of obstructing legislative work. It required that the minority party in the house be sufficiently numerous so that without them the house did not have enough

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Craig Adamson
Reviewed in Barron's 9-5-2011. Written by James Grant (of Grant's Interest Rate Observer fame).

Although I was excited about the author, I was disappointed in the book overall. It was not as engaging as I had hoped. There was not as much humor in the book as I'd anticipated based on Thomas Reed's renowned wit.

What the book did delve into quite a bit was procedure and the intricacies of floor debates and rules in the US House. Reed's claim to fame was breaking the filibuster through various maneuv
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Socraticgadfly
Cut it one-third and it would be better. Cut that another one-third and add some new stuff and it would be better yet.

James Grant, founder of Grant's Interest Rate Review, adds little to any in-depth understanding of one of our seminal Speakers of the House, Thomas B. "Czar" Reed.

He DOES, though, take the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1893 to repeatedly give discourses on monetarism, the gold standard, bimetallism, etc., almost as if he were a kinder, gentler, more academic Ron Paul speaking to
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Ben
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One critic called Thomas Reed "the most fascinating politician you've never heard of", which is actually a seriously qualifying statement, because if a politician truly was all that fascinating, you probably WOULD HAVE heard of him. Much of this book is devoted to rules of order, Congressional administrative procedures, and endless debate on bi-metallism and the gold standard. I actually find the Gilded Age a very interesting period in American history, but as this book proves, all that is gilde ...more
Hadrian
A very interesting book about a very influential man, but one who has been forgotten from history.

The 'filibuster' of the title is not the one we are only too familiar with in the Senate - instead, it is a sneaky method of preventing a quorum from being reached in the House. Reed smashed that, as well as a famous 'do-nothing Congress', and made the government of his era one of the most active in history.

The details of political minutiae are a bit dull for the unequipped reader, but those who are
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Robert Hoffman
Mr. Grant does a nice job to make two challenging topics - monetary economics and House parliamentary procedure - easy to understand, as well as relevant for the period being covered and the present day. Speaker Reed sought and achieved a higher level of functionality out of Congress at a time when it was needed. If you think today's government is dysfunctional, you will find that there is a pattern to this craziness throughout our history.
Brandon Shultz
This is a great read for anyone interested in turn of the century politics. It goes through the major policy debates of the 1880-1890s including the many debates that started well before hand and were decided during the partisan era of American politics. It displays guilded age politics in a true form and shows the partisan arguments that helped establish policy debates that went on for years in the future.
Bart
May 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Modern economic zealotry masquerading as history. Very poor form.
Bradley America
Not as raucous as it was made out to be
Lauri
Sep 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Started out interesting but far too bogged down in detail for the casual political/history reader.
Gerry Connolly
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Mr Speaker, James Grant has written an admirable bio of Thomas Reed GOP leader and Speaker of the House in the Gilded Age. He broke dilatory tactics on the floor and opposed US imperialism
Suzanne Walker
Yeah, yeah, so I learned something. But the pix of old-timey facial whiskers are the best part of this book.
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