The University of Wisconsin Press

Politics  / Autobiography /  Wisconsin

When Government Was Good
Memories of a Life in Politics
Henry S. Reuss
With a Foreword by John Kenneth Galbraith

When government worked, and how it can again

"These engaging memoirs should be read by everyone who wants the American government to live up to its awesome challenges and to fulfill its noblest dreams."—Robert F. Drinan

"Reuss's articulate analysis of legislative matters was admirable, even to those of us who seldom agreed with his conclusions."—John Rhodes, former Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives

"When Government Was Good is an engaging memoir by one of the most thoughtful and constructive legislators of the century—especially valuable for Henry Reuss's reflections on the inner life of the House of Representatives."
—Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

U. S. House Representative Henry S. Reuss (Democrat, Wisconsin, 1955–83) believes there was indeed a time when government worked—the "Golden Age" of 1948–68. Then, he recalls, the economy was functioning, the long overdue civil rights movement had begun to blossom, and the government had integrity. Not afraid to call things as they are, he blasts the political forces that have led to the disintegration of this Golden Age: economic and racial inequality and excessive militarism.

Reuss emerged from the privileged domain of a wealthy, educated, white man into the realities of contemporary world politics—he saw the inequality and poverty in American cities and third world countries, and he saw politicians and laws disrespectful of the environment. Taking these experiences to heart, Reuss took action. He authored the legislation that led to the Peace Corps, he fought for environmental protection, and became a major voice in American politics. When Government Was Good provides anyone interested in public life with insights about this fascinating man's experiences, beliefs and ideas for addressing the problems of the twenty-first century.

Henry S. Reuss has written five other books, one of which is co-authored by his wife Margaret.

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May 1999
LC: 98-048747 E
200 pp.   6 x 9   
17 b/w photos

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Cloth $22.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-16190-3
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