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People's Warrior: John Moss and the Fight for Freedom of Information and Consumer Rights Paperback – June 1, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


During his tenure as a larger-than-life member of Congress, John Moss was a major force in the development of our competitive capital markets and enhancing the oversight powers of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Michael Lemov has done an outstanding job of capturing Moss's intellect, charisma and contributions, in this important history of that era and Moss's illustrious career. (Harvey Pitt, former chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission)

It requires tenacity to pry important, sometimes damaging public information out of the government. No one was more tenacious than Congressman John Moss, who spent 12 years fighting to enact the Freedom of information Act. We should be grateful for his vision and leadership. His life and the story of that battle to enact a basic American freedom, is well told in Michael Lemov's wonderful biography. (Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)

An insightful history of a time when Congress actually responded to the American people and crucial laws to protect the consumer and guarantee freedom of information to the public were enacted. A story of the battles of one determined man and a real-life lesson you are not likely to read in a text book. (Peter Harkness, Founding Publisher, Governing Magazine, and former Editor, Congressional Quarterly)

A new book People's Warrior: John Moss and the Fight for Freedom of Information and Consumer Rights has just been published. Lovingly prepared by his former chief counsel, Michael Lemov, this work tells the amazing story of one man's determination to make government information accessible to the public. He has an amazing record of public service, from his work on the Consumer Product Safety Act to the Securities Investor Protection Act and so much more. It's almost unthinkable now, but before John Moss, average citizens and the media did not have the right to see government information. People's Warrior shines a light on an amazing life of public service. (Al Gore's Blog, Algore.Com)

...it's a day to remember underappreciated Americans who have made a big difference. I've just finished reading a book about one of them: the late John Moss, who from the early 1950s through the late 1970s was a Congressman from California's Central Valley. It is mainly because of Moss that we now have a Freedom of Information Act, a Consumer Product Safety Commission, various financial-reform bodies, and a host of other protections that would not have a prayer of getting through the Congress if they were introduced now. Moss’s longtime aide and associate, Michael Lemov, has written a new biography of him, People’s Warrior, that is startling mainly in recalling an era in which politicians actually thought (gasp!) that they could agree on significant reforms and get them passed in relatively short order. It's only a generation ago, though it seems as distant as the time of Upton Sinclair and Lincoln Steffens, and Lemov's book conveys what it was like. The book is worth reading and reflecting upon. (The Atlantic)

People’s Warrior is the best account to date of Representative Moss’s legislative battles to win the public’s right to obtain government information, consumer protections, federal safety standards for motor vehicles, and protections for securities in brokerage accounts. For FOIA advocates, Lemov’s treatment of Moss’s decades-long fight to pass the Freedom of Information Act –which was signed into law on July 4th, 1966– is especially riveting. (National Security Archive)

Mike Lemov, has done justice with this inspiring and instructive account of one of the giants in our institution’s history. (Congressional Record)

About the Author

Michael R. Lemov served as chief counsel to John Moss for eight years and as general counsel of the National Commission on Product Safety. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; 1st edition (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161147471X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611474718
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,269,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Marc Korman on July 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The cult of the Presidency and, to a lesser extent, the Senate looms so large in American politics that there is rarely any reflection on individual members of the House of Representatives. John Moss had such an important career that he is a perfect legislator to correct this problem with. Author Michael Lemov does so here with detailed research including interviews with the subject himself and those around him, including well known figures like Donald Rumsfeld (once a House colleague of Moss') as well as less well known staffers.

Moss briefly served in the California state legislature before he was elected to Congress from a Sacramento-based seat. From the early 1950s to the late 1970s he was at the forefront of several important and long term legislative fights. Lemov focuses on the Freedom of Information Act, Consumer Product Safety Act (which he was extensively involved with personally), the Magnuson-Moss Act to strengthen the Federal Trade Commission, the law establishing the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and several motor vehicle laws. The book, and Moss' career, demonstrates how Congressional oversight can work in a non-partisan way to improve the law. Moss used special committees, Commerce Committee oversight, hearings, and more tools to learn about a problem, analyze it, and construct solutions.

Moss also had an important partner in Republican Congressman Broyhill who disagreed with Moss on a great deal, but understood his job in Congress was to accomplish and not just oppose. Moss worked with and against members and presidents of both parties as necessary to pass good policy. His record, although little known by the public at large, speaks for itself. People's Warrior allows the reader to learn that record thanks to Mike Lemov's well researched, easy to read book.
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Format: Paperback
The book People's Warrior: John Moss and The Fight for Freedom of Information and Consumer Rights is one of the most inspiring publications that I have read. It encourages us to stand up for what is right. The founder of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), John Moss, was an indefatigable individual who continued making efforts to make government information public and help enact the consumer protection laws in the United States. His tremendous effort not only gave Americans the right to obtain government information, but also influenced a number of other countries to enact consumer protection laws and enable their publics to secure government information. The author, Michael R. Lemov, reminds us of John Moss's invaluable efforts in protecting civil lives, his passion for and tenacity about things that are right. It might look like a dry-political book, and it might be challenging to read for those who are unfamiliar with American history, but you will find yourself attracted to a wonderful man--John Moss. I know I was and I am from Korea and Japan.
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Michael Lemov's book, PEOPLE'S WARRIOR - JOHN MOSS AND THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND CONSUMER RIGHTS, delivers the goods. It provides a cogent history of the Congressman who was doggedly instrumental in getting into law the Freedom of Information Act; the Consumer Product Safety Act; the Magnuson-Moss Act, which revived the Federal Trade Commission; and the Securities Investor Protection Act. Mr. Lemov gives us a multidimensional view of John Moss; how he became the fighter for consumers and for the public's right to know what its government was doing.

PEOPLE'S WARRIOR, however, is more than just a history of the man and his achievements. It sets forth - in all its sausage-making-like verisimilitude - the legislative process: the personalities of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate; the power of lobbies and its exercise; the pressures of constituents; the role of congressional staffers; and, not least of all, the money. I was a counsel for the House Judiciary Committee in the 1960s and knew some of the persons described, so I can testify to the veracity of Mr. Lemov's characterizations. The book also describes the historical contexts in which laws are passed and defeated.

Finally, Mr. Lemov gives us an overview of consumer protection today. He shows how the legislative successes and failures of Congressman Moss have played a role in many of the Country's recent problems. In all, PEOPLE'S WARRIOR is a very instructive work. It also demonstrates once again how legislative failures in the past, and our failure to remember what happened in the past, cause us current pain.
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Thousands of Americans are alive today because of federal consumer-protection laws, and today's fixation on government transparency has its historical roots in the Freedom of Information Act, now 45 years old. Both of those, and a host of other reforms benefiting Americans both as consumers and as citizens, came about in great measure because of the dogged persistence decades ago of a California congressman who now is largely forgotten. Happily, John Moss is back in the spotlight, thanks to this fine new book. Author Michael Lemov was a top aide to the college dropout and onetime appliance dealer during those turbulent years that, against intense business opposition, produced landmarks of legislation that might seem unthinkable today. In a sparkling narrative, Lemov tells a fast-paced story that makes the years of John Moss come alive. "People's Warrior" is no dry public-policy tome, and it's a book that couldn't be more timely as battles reminiscent of those of Moss's era play out today over the creation, powers, funding and leadership of the new federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
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