They come to Washington for varied and complex reasons—driven perhaps by some deep emotional commitment to an issue, or believing that their time in Congress can make their dream of the presidency a reality. No matter what their motivation or particular route, freshmen have three traits in common: they will be members of one of the most powerful deliberative bodies on the planet; they will have far less leverage and influence than they might have imagined; and finally, none of them—not even the most experienced political hand—will have any idea exactly what will take to succeed as a United States Senator.
In The Upper House, political analyst Terrence Samuel journeys inside the legislative arm of the government to discover what makes a modern senator. He gets to the heart of the Senate and follows the people—Harry Reid, Jim Webb, Amy Klobuchar, Jon Tester, Chuck Schumer, Bob Corker—and the institution through displays of dazzling power, bewildering helplessness, and sacred traditions both ancient and modern.
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