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Going Home: Black Representatives and Their Constituents Paperback – April 1, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0226241319 ISBN-10: 0226241319 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226241319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226241319
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,650,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“In this original and important book, Richard Fenno draws upon interviews with the pioneer group of black congresspersons (Louis Stokes and Barbara Jordan) to compare their representational styles to contemporary congresspersons such as Chaka Fattah and Stephanie Tubbs Jones. His portraits suggest that black representatives are not simply descriptive representatives of their group, but work very hard to provide substantive outcomes as well. Fenno has the ability to pull more information from an interview and put it within a broader theoretical context than any political scientist I know.”<\#209>Paula D. McClain, Duke University
(Paula D. McClain, Duke University) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Thirty years ago there were nine African Americans in the U.S. House of Representatives. Today there are four times that number. In Going Home, the dean of congressional studies, Richard F. Fenno, explores what representation has meant—and means today—to black voters and to the politicians they have elected to office.

Fenno follows the careers of four black representatives—Louis Stokes, Barbara Jordan, Chaka Fattah, and Stephanie Tubbs Jones—from their home districts to the halls of the Capitol. He finds that while these politicians had different visions of how they should represent their districts (in part based on their individual preferences, and in part based on the history of black politics in America), they shared crucial organizational and symbolic connections to their constituents. These connections, which draw on a sense of "linked fates," are ones that only black representatives can provide to black constituents.

His detailed portraits and incisive analyses will be important for anyone interested in the workings of Congress or in black politics.

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Ok, perhaps I'm being too harsh - parts of it are KINDA interesting for thse of us that are political junkies. Unfortunately, the Fenno book is also extremely dry to an unforgivable degree - but, thankfully, relatively short.

He evalutates four of congress's "cohort pioneers" from the black community: starting with Louis Stokes, then Barbara Jordan, Chaka Fattah, then another chapter about Stokes' retirement in the 90s and his replacement by Stephanie Tubbs Jones. His evaluation entails the contextualization of their homestyles, and his analysis of the various driving forces providing impetus to their particular leadership styles and oreintations. The chapters about Stokes were interesting, as you get to see the evolution of his leadership style, which was pretty cool. The chapter about Chaka Fatah was absolute drivel, and only sightly better than literally eating my own brain (but perhaps more painful).

Overall, the book isn't the most horrible thing I've had to read (although it's certainly up there). More than anything, the book was an excruciating read because of Fenno's writing style, and the undue time spent on trite, unconsequential matters. But that's 100% personal preference - I spoke with a classmate that, to the contrary, thought the book was great.
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