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Tell Newt to Shut Up: Prize-Winning Washington Post Journalists Reveal How Reality Gagged the Gingrich Revolution [Paperback]

by David Maraniss, Michael Weisskopf
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 13, 1996 0684832933 978-0684832937 First Edition
Speaker Newt Gingrich and his troops promised a revolution when they seized power in January 1995. The year that followed was one of the most fascinating and tumultuous in modern American history. After stunning early success with the Contract with America, the Republicans began to lose momentum; by year's end Gingrich was isolated and uncertain, and his closest allies were telling him to shut up.
Here is an unprecedented, fly-on-the-wall look at the successes, sellouts, and perhaps fatal mistakes of Newt Gingrich's Republican Revolution. Based on the award-winning Washington Post series that documented the Republicans' day-to-day attempts to revolutionize the American government, "Tell Newt to Shut Up!" gets to the heart of the political process.

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Tell Newt to Shut Up: Prize-Winning Washington Post Journalists Reveal How Reality Gagged the Gingrich Revolution + Congress: The Electoral Connection, Second Edition
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Editorial Reviews Review

A blow-by-blow account of the "Republican Revolution" in Congress, which collapsed after little more than a year, this feast for political insiders includes moments both absurd (Newt Gingrich confessing to White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta that "I melt when I am around" President Clinton) and critical. (Gingrich's realization, at the start of 1996, that "He had grievously miscalculated his opposition and strategically botched the most important political battle of his speakership.") As an insider's analysis of what went wrong with the largest rightward tilt in the U.S. Congress in this century, Maraniss and Weisskopf's book is indispensable.


Stephen E. Ambrose bestselling author of D-Day and Undaunted Courage Politicians put on the best show in town -- and here they are with all their hypocrisy and idealism, self-service and public service, stupidity and sense, high drama and low skulduggery. It makes for wonderful reading.

David Broder This is a wonderful look inside the revolution. It is a vivid portrait of the ups and downs, ins and outs, of Newt Gingrich and the gang.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 13, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684832933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684832937
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,081,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post. He is the winner of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting and has been a Pulitzer finalist two other times for his journalism and again for They Marched Into Sunlight, a book about Vietnam and the sixties. The author also of bestselling works on Bill Clinton, Vince Lombardi, and Roberto Clemente, Maraniss is a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He and his wife, Linda, live in Washington, DC, and Madison, Wisconsin.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars entertaining but flawed September 29, 2005
For the most part, this is an even-handed account of the first year of Republican control of the House, right after the so-called Republican Revolution of 1994 -- that is, if you can get past the constant insinuations, suggestions, and implications that everything Republicans do is because of their ties to big business (it seems nearly everyone the authors mention has a defense contractor in their district). Clearly, too, Maraniss and Weisskopf came away with a strong affinity for Ohio congressman John Kasich, and the story often favors him. Except for these points, the authors do make an effort to be fair, and the result is an entertaining, though somewhat flawed, look inside the famous revolution

The subtitle suggests that the book will explain how the revolution got the wind knocked out of its sails. Before reading, I thought this would focus on the Contract with America -- how it was created, how it fared in Congress, how Clinton reacted, etc. But in the book's central flaw, the authors focus on issues that are important but mostly tangential to the Republicans' central legislative package. Yes, de-regulation was an important component of the philosophy at the core of the revolution, but did that revolution's success or failure hinge on reforming OSHA or the school lunch program? I'm not convinced. After all, much of the Contract passed Congress, some of it became law under Clinton's signature, and Clinton declared the end of the era of big government. Obviously, the revolution was not entirely "gagged" as the subtitle also says.

The best part of the book by far is its discussion of the budget battle and the 1995 government shutdown. The telling is dramatic and detailed, a veritable feast for a political junky.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gingrich vs. Clinton Analyzed Fairly August 9, 2001
From all aspects of the political spectrum left and right we should read this book and learn the cost of democracy. Newt Gingrich had a dream to spearhead a Republican Revolution and to bring it about as forcefully as possible. Unfortunately for him his nemisis William Jefferson Clinton knew how to counter him and how to do it well. The writing in this book is honest, and doesn't attempt to take sides. Anyone who truly wants to know why Congressman Gingrich exited from public life, you need not look further.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A year in the life of the Republican revolution November 20, 1998
By A Customer
This book gives a good profile of the major figures of the Republican leadership of the 104th Congress. I have always enjoyed books such as this one, and Bob Woodward's "The Agenda," which give more insight into the personalities of their subjects than you would ever get from TV or newspapers. In the last two chapters in the book, which wonderfully describe the tedium of budget negotiations at the end of 1995, I could definitely feel some of the frustration that this group felt in their impasse with the White House.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful inside look at the workings of Washington. October 27, 1996
By A Customer
The tale of the Republican Revolution of 1994. This was the first time in over 40 years that the Republicans had the majority in both chambers of Congress. The key to the House of Representatives was Speaker Newt Gingrich. This book documents every victory and defeat that Newt and his leadership team took. A great look at the politics, money, and power that is being handed back and forth in Washington. I recommend it to any political science student, interested citizen, and anyone who doubts the influence of $$$ in the capitol
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a nice little primer for political junkies like myself. The book gives detailed glimpses of the people who helped orchestrate the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, as well as defining events during 1995.
I found it very interesting to read about the personal traits and activities of the major players behind the Revolution, like Dick Armey and John Kasich. However, I wish the authors had spent more time on Tom DeLay, the Majority Whip at the time. I concede that in 1995, DeLay was not the well known power that he is today, but the book never gives a good sense of DeLay: we only get very brief looks at him.
If there is one flaw in the book, however, it is that there is not enough discussion of Speaker Newt Gingrich himself. The authors do well to discuss how Gingrich fell out of favor with his Republican colleagues, but not too much else. Newt the Architect was kind of ignored for Newt the Annoyance. Except for disussing how Newt was no match for President Clinton, there was nothing else substantive about Newt's work as the creator of the Revolution.
Still, an interesting book on the inner workings of Congress during the tumultuous year of 1995.
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