Book Reviews

Book Review: King of the Lobby.


Modern times have seen their share of lobbyists, in Washington D.C.. It is rumoured that lobbying is multi-million dollar industry.

Manufacturers, associations of all kinds of charitable organizations, gun owners, gun manufacturers, food processors, restaurant, hotels, armament manufacturers and many others spend untold amounts of funds to persuade lawmakers to bend impending laws to protect their interests, and in some instances to become or scuttle the introduction of an unfavourable law.

Sam Ward was one of the earliest lobbyists in Washington D.C and lived a very hectic life, learning languages, experiencing cuisines of different countries, songs, and in general trying to understand other cultures.

He was a bon vivant extraordinaire and liked to entertain his friends including influential politicians.

His dinner menus enjoyed Washington-wide reputation and the wines that he selected were the finest available.

King of the Lobby

brings the Gilded Age Washington alive for the reader, describing the capital and its village adolescence with meticulous accuracy.

Here, the reader discovers a “lovable” lobbyist, who had the wherewithal to charm politicians, to think his way, even better, the way his clients wanted, while entertaining them lavishly in restaurants.

Lobbyists were part of the political life during teh Civil War era employed by business barons and congressmen.

H.W. Longfellow, J. Pulitzer, O. Wild, The Emperor of Brazil Dom Pedro were Sam Ward’s best friends.

The author, a manuscript curator at the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, has accomplished a thorough research about Sam Ward and the politics of the time.

The reader also learns how the city of Washington D.C. developed from a dusty village to what it is today.

While reading this excellent book the reader learns fascinating nuggets about lobbying and how it evolved over time until today.

Highly recommended.

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