King of the Lobby: The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man-About-Washington in the Gilded Age

Kathryn Allamong Jacob, Author . Johns Hopkins Univ. $40 (212p) ISBN 978-0-8018-9397-1

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.)

Reviewed on: 10/19/2009
Release date: 12/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-8018-9827-3
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