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The Freshmen : What Happened to the Republican Revolution Paperback – January 29, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

This detailed look at the Republicans elected to Congress in 1994 is the most revealing book available on the GOP-controlled Congress. Journalist Linda Killian describes how Newt Gingrich's army of upstarts fought to pass the Contract with America, dueled with President Clinton over a government shutdown, and toiled to win reelection in 1996. Although some readers are bound to consider The Freshmen too long, political junkies will find themselves devouring its behind-the-scenes account of how Congress and Washington really operate. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An engrossing look at the 104th Congress, in which Republicans, their ranks bolstered by first-time legislators, took control of the House of Representatives. Killian's book is successful largely thanks to her focus on a handful of the freshmen and the key issues that made the 104th Congress important. Rep. Van Hilleary of Tennessee is among the lawmakers Killian portraysshe dubs him the ``Everyman'' of the freshman class, and his thoughts and feelings in the period following his election, during crises such as the two government shutdowns that marred the Congress, and throughout his reelection campaign, are given strong emphasis. Florida's Mark Foley is similarly illustrative for Killian, except that hes not a True Believer (as the young anti-establishment conservatives of the 104th Congress dubbed themselves) but a moderate on social issues. Although it is clear that Killian takes issue with the opinions of many of her subjects, shes also ready to blame President Clinton for failures during that period. She argues, for instance, that the government stalemate in early 1996 was used by Clinton to advance political goals, despite the detrimental effects on both parties and on a large segment of the American people. The other, less likely, villain in Killian's study is Newt Gingrich, who increasingly comes to view the freshmen as an unruly group of men and women who frequently vote their conscience and not as he, the party leader, dictates. The end result of the 104th Congressthat the electorate chose in 1996 to keep the executive and legislative branches of government dividedis indicative of the times in that, as Killian writes, ``it seemed to suit the voters' desire for marginalism rather than dramatic change in either direction.'' Moving pre-mortem material on Sonny Bono adds a light touch, as well, to Killian's fair, thoughtful, and eminently readable account. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (January 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813399505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813399508
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,000,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LINDA KILLIAN - - @lindajkillian

Linda Killian is a Washington author, journalist, political analyst and activist.

She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire and writes for The Daily Beast, The Atlantic and Politico. She has been a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and appears regularly as a political analyst on national television. Her latest book is "THE SWING VOTE: The Untapped Power of Independents" published by St. Martin's Press.

"THE SWING VOTE" examines the polarization and dysfunction of our political system from the perspective of independent voters. It focuses on four swing states - Colorado, Ohio, New Hampshire and Virginia - and presents four demographic groups that illustrate who the swing voters are - NPR Republicans, America First Democrats, The Facebook Generation and Starbucks Moms and Dads. Killian describes the intense disappointment and frustration these voters have with the political system and the two parties and examines the heightened polarization of Democratic and Republican elected officials and their inability to deal with our nation's most important problems. In "THE SWING VOTE" she offers solutions for fixing our broken political system and ways for Independent voters to make their voices heard.

Her previous book was "The Freshmen: What Happened to the Republican Revolution?" praised by The New York Review of Books and other reviewers as a colorful, well-written and insightful analysis of what happened to the congressional Republicans of 1994. "The Freshmen" reveals the maneuvering and intrigues, the successes and failures of the historic 104th Republican Congress.

She has also written for national news organizations including The Washington Post, Politics Daily and U.S. News & World and many other magazines and websites. Her television appearances on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and C-SPAN include Now with Alex Wagner, The Cycle, The Melissa Harris-Perry Show and Hardball with Chris Matthews. She has also appeared multiple times on The NewsHour on PBS. Her national radio appearances include WNYC's The Takeaway, Sirius Radio, WHYY in Philadelphia and National Public Radio public affairs shows in Miami, Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, Columbus, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Boston.

Killian is a frequent lecturer on politics and public affairs around the country and her work has also appeared in "The Los Angeles Times", "The New Republic", "The Weekly Standard", "The American Spectator", "The Christian Science Monitor", "The Boston Globe", "Redbook", "Washingtonian" and "People" magazines.

She is the creator and former director of the Boston University Washington Journalism Center and a former Boston University professor of journalism.

She was the senior editor of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" where she was responsible for the editorial content of NPR's national evening news program and is a former reporter at Forbes magazine in New York.

She has a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roger L. Gennari, Ph.D. ( on May 8, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I found this book extremely well written, insightful, and fair, as best I could tell. I had no sense of a polemical viewpoint clouding Ms. Killian's view of this special and timely group of politicians. Ms. Killian also helped me to be clearer about what I had wanted and did not want to have happen politically when the freshmen were brought to Washington. I agree with her that these young, arrogant politicians were not given a mandate to foment a true revolution and destroy government as we knew it. But they were asked to challenge old ways of getting things done. Misunderstanding this has been the historical fate of many a self-appointed revolutionary. This book is a very important piece of writing for Americans of any party or persuasion to understand our modern political, economic, and social dilemmas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Stewart on April 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
This will, in fact, be a very short review. But, I wanted to write it for one reason. This book has been very interesting for me on a different level. I actually currently work for one of the political figures in the book. However, I am on board following the "Class of 94". To read the excerpts from the book about the election and first year in congress and now looking at my "boss" now, it's an interesting and unique view inside Washington and the process. Always remember these men and women are just like you and me and are trying to do the best they can for our country. Pick this one out for your own VIP pass.
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By Joe Neville on June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An excellent read and a great insight in to the 94 Congress. The book was in excellent condition and well worth keeping. I will definitely purchase further books from this vendor.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful By brainiac jim on July 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Killian's book only comes alive when she discusses the dirty laundry of the 104th Congress: the finacial infidelities of Enid and Joe Waldholtz, Mark Neumann's self-destructive persuit of a balanced budget (the man was a born accountant, not a politico), Wes Cooley (the Rep who flipped off Sierra Club photographers), and Helen Chenowith of Montana, pro-John Birch Society and a firm believer in the "black helicopters" of militia and UFO lore.
Unfortunately, Killian buys into their talk of being "revolutionaries", a claim supported by the conservative media. In truth, they were all elected on the slimmest margins...and what revolutionaries are elected? The Founding Fathers were not elected, Mao ZeDong wasn't elected; they seized power through armed struggle and built their states accorting to their pet ideologies. The GOP ideology was to make government as pro-corporate and anti-poor as possible and it worked, thanks to the codewords "personal responsability" and "family values." But then conservativism in America has always been "less for thee, more for me." I think a major failing of the book was it's inabiltiy to place the freshmen in a historical context; they are the children of Harry Brown and Ronald Reagan, talking tough to people below Bill Gates' income bracket while lavishing cash at the Pentagon and big business. In the aftermath of Enron, Arthur Anderson, and WorldCom, we need to know how things got so fouled up. Killian's book is a footnote to that story.
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