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People's Warrior: John Moss and the Fight for Freedom of Information and Consumer Rights Paperback – June 1, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I feel this is the book to be read by all those people who believe that government is too big to overcome. Read morePublished on February 1, 2014 by Michele Lyon Brown
Very interesting and informative book. If you are interested in politics, history, and just a good story about one human being who triumphed against all odds and whose goal was to... Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by K. Stirn
Just as the present day Congress manages to achieve another low in meeting its responsibility to the country, along comes Mike Lemov with his wonderful biography and study of... Read morePublished on November 28, 2011 by Steven M. Roth
Before reading this accessible and engaging book, I was unfamiliar with Congressman John Moss even though the laws he passed are well known and have had real impacts on American... Read morePublished on November 14, 2011 by Donald Cohen