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King of the Lobby: The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man-About-Washington in the Gilded Age Hardcover – November 17, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Washington of the 1850s to 1880s, mirroring America's transition to an industrialized, expanding society, was characterized by greed, corruption and social upheaval as political factions vied for office and influence. Cultural historian Jacob (Capital Elites: High Society in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War) captures this tangle of forces, events and people in her short biography of Sam Ward, scion of a New York banking family, '49er, spendthrift and lobbyist. Ward earned the title “King of the Lobby” by applying savoir faire, gastronomy and a genius for social combinations to the hitherto crude process of influencing votes in Congress. He represented insurance, telegraph and steamship companies as well as banking, mining and railroad interests, among others. As with other lobbyists, Ward offered access and technical expertise, but “[he] was in the vanguard of the social lobby....” Using Ward's own words allows Jacob to illuminate his vivid personality. Her extensive research is reflected in her recounting of Ward's life, successfully putting it into the context of the history of lobbying. Jacob's focused narrative will appeal to American history buffs. 20 b&w photos. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Ward earned the title 'King of the Lobby' by applying savoir faire, gastronomy and a genius for social combinations to the hitherto crude process of influencing votes in Congress... Using Ward's own words allows Jacob to illuminate his vivid personality.

(Publishers Weekly)

A wonderful book. The author explores a protean figure with much to tell us about the evolving nature of politics and government in the age of the Civil War. The author’s great accomplishment here is to make Sam Ward come alive.

(Michael McGerr, Indiana University)

Jacob's trim and surprising biography of Sam Ward... will not change most people's view of what is essentially a hustler's profession. But she brilliantly shows how, in the hands of a master, lobbying can be lifted to the level of art.

(Fergus M. Bordewich Wall Street Journal)

Jacob enthralls readers with anecdotes of Ward beguiling a skeptical press and demonstrating persuasiveness to members of Congress... a crisply written study, making excellent use of new sources and providing historical perspective through sprightly stories enlarging our understanding of the phenomenon of the lobbyist. Sure to please both serious researchers and general readers.

(Library Journal)

In the delectable biography, King of the Lobby, Kathryn Allamong Jacob serves up the life and times of this protean character.

(Drew Bratcher Washingtonian)

Jacob details how a swashbuckling scion of a wealthy New York familysettled into his lobbying career in Washington, D.C....and producespage-turning tales of ethically challenged reporters... [and] a new breedof lobbyist in Reconstruction-era Washington: the 'lobbyess.'

(Matthew Murray Roll Call)

Despite the fairly short length of the book the author sticks as much into the pages as possible. There is no long-winded verbiage in this book. It's a quick read but one that leaves you fulfilled and enlightened.

(Marty Dodge blogcritics.org)

Now virtually forgotten, [Sam Ward] was an immensely able, influential and engaging character who has been rescued from obscurity by Kathryn Allamong Jacob.

(Jonathan Yardley Washington Post)

A splendid biography... of an American original.

(John M. Taylor Washington Times)

In this deft and diverting volume, Kathryn Jacob shows that lobbyists may do good by encouraging elected officials to set aside their differences and work together.

(Kevin R. Kosar Weekly Standard)

Considerable achievement.

(Peter H. Argersinger Journal of American History)

King of the Lobby offers not only an engaging portrait of an important lobbyist, but also provides a helpful introduction to lobbying in the Gilded Age.

(Gaines M. Foster Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era)

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

(Hrayr Berberoglu Winesworld's Magazine)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801893976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801893971
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,905,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on December 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A pleasant biography of a most interesting fellow and a good history of early lobbying in our nation's capital.

Sam Ward had a boatload of life experiences that gave him the stories to entrance, over fine dinners, the political bigwigs of the day. He was a friend with the poet Longfellow and brother of the woman who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic. He was as comfortable in the gold rush of California as the drawing rooms of England.

Ms. Jacob, the author, handles Sam Ward's story well and interweaves it nicely with a broader view of lobbying. I like her calm, rational view of this time honored activity: she notes both the dark side and the useful side of this craft, one that is inexorably tied, to some degree at least, to the functioning of all governments.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Kathryn Allamong Jacob brings Gilded Age Washington alive for the reader, describing the capital in its village adolescence with such meticulous historical accuracy that we become part of the scene of this "backwater capital" where politicians were transients. Into this bland scene Jacob introduces us to a colorful Sam Ward whose elegance and charm captivate us. Lobbyists were already part of the Washington political scene during the Civl War era employed by business barons to court and influence Congressmen. Here we discover a lovable lobbyist - a king whose table seems a wondrous place as described in this fascinating read called "King of the Lobby."
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I just finished watching Ms. Jacob sumarize this book on C-span. I was enthralled. I can't wait to read it.
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