Press kit for Raising Hell for Justice

Raising Hell for Justice press kit | Press release | Blurbs | Reviews | Author's bio | Author's photo | Cover image | Excerpt


Raising Hell for Justice
The Washington Battles of a Heartland Progressive
David R. Obey
Publication date September 2007
496 pp.  6 x 9  19 b/w photos
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-22540-7 Cloth $35.00 t
(ISBN-10: 0-299-22540-2)

Press Release

You can access the press release for Obey's book at Obey press release in plain text.


"Dave Obey's story reminds us that in a city of quicksand it is still possible to stand on principle as a servant of your ideals and the public."—Bill Moyers, author of Moyers on America

"Raising Hell for Justice is a powerful and enlightening political memoir by one of America's all-time great legislators. Obey is one of a vanishing breed in Congress whose entire career in public life has been committed to both advancing a principled agenda and working constructively with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to hammer out agreements that advance that agenda. Obey burns with a passion sparked by his childhood experience growing up in an economically vulnerable working class family and channeled into politics and policy-making by his embrace of Catholic social justice and La Follette progressivism. His compelling memoir demonstrates how ennobling and satisfying a career in the first branch of government can be."Thomas E. Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair and senior fellow in governance studies, Brookings Institution


"Raising Hell for Justice: The Washington Battles of a Heartland Progressive

By David R. Obey (University of Wisconsin Press)
Stuart Levitan on Friday 9/14/2007 in The Daily Page

How did an angry kid from an unhappy working-class home in Wausau become the longest-serving member of Congress in Wisconsin history and the powerful chair of the House Appropriations Committee?

"Life takes funny bounces," U.S. Rep. Dave Obey writes in this important and engrossing memoir, which ably blends personal revelations, insightful political analyses and a progressive call-to-arms.

A man with more passion than patience, given to the occasional fiery outburst—witness his notorious hallway encounter with an antiwar Marine mom—Obey is likely the only member of Congress to have slugged a nun. (In his defense, she hit first). That same intensity fueled his fight against the economic program of Ronald Reagan—the congressional work of which he's most proud.

Now a self-described Social Gospel Democrat, Obey grew up in a Republican family and even campaigned for Sen. Joe McCarthy. But when McCarthyites on the school board went after Obey's favorite teacher, his political metamorphosis began. In 1962, at age 24, he was elected state representative.

It was Richard Nixon who gave Obey his next break, by appointing Wausau Congressman Melvin Laird as his first secretary of Defense. Obey stared down one potential candidate, future state schools superintendent Bert Grover, easily dispatched quirky biochemist (and future Madison mayoral candidate) Will Sandstrom in the primary, and—on April Fool's Day, 1969—eked out a stunning victory over Walter John Chilsen.

Obey came to Washington as the youngest member of the House. Now he's its third most senior. He has plenty of stories, and he tells them well.
Although his ideals are firm, Obey reveals he's changed his mind about some issues—notably, he now supports Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon. That's one reason he ranks Ford first among his seven presidents. Then it's Clinton, Carter, George H.W. Bush ("decent, clueless"), Reagan ("disastrous"), Nixon ("knowledgeable, malevolent") and Bush ("the most destructive of all"). He's suitably steamed about Newt Gingrich ("a political sociopath" as venal as McCarthy), but is quite warm for Newt's almost-successor, the "decent and courageous" Rep. Robert Livingston, snared in a sex scandal as he was about to become speaker.

Obey wrote this book as a rejoinder to Tommy Thompson's preposterous notion that conservatives are the true heirs to Robert M. La Follette, and to give an account of modern government and politics that could stand alongside La Follette's autobiography.

He's met both goals."—The Daily Page

[The review is located at]

Author's Bio:

David R. Obey (D-Wausau) is the longest-serving member of the U.S. Congress in Wisconsin history and is the current chair of the House Appropriations Committee. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he chaired the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, which funded America's economic and political response to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

For more information, in addition to this press kit, contact our publicity manager, phone: (608) 263-0734, email:

[Return to the book page for Raising Hell for Justice]

Cover image:

This cover image is for publicity for Obey's book.

This cover image can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. For a 300 dpi version, click here.

Author Photo:

These images can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. For a 300 dpi version, click here.

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