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Book Review: King of the Lobby by Kathryn Allamong Jacob

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Never has a sub-heading been so accurate: The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man About Washington in the Gilded Age finishes the title of King of the Lobby. This is very much a life and times of a fascinating character.

Despite the fairly short length of the book the author sticks as much into the pages as possible. There is no long-winded verbiage in this book. It’s a quick read but one that leaves you fulfilled and enlightened.

Now that is not to say that King of the Lobby would necessarily be an interesting read for those who are not into the machinations of governance. There is a certain level of understanding and knowledge of the players needed as well. It’s knowing, forcing you to call on your American history knowledge. For a junkie of politics such as myself its a wonderful colorful exploration of the lobbying system.

I should probably say that this is not 21st, 20th, but 19th century lobbying in the pre and post-civil war days. Ward was a man of letters, language and intellectual wit. He was friends with Henry Wandsworth Longfellow, and other politicians both near and far. His lobbying job was his focus that overrode the tragedies, setbacks and calamities of his life.

Ward was a man who made his living with his wits and mind, not the gun and sword. Sharp thought his wit and mind might be, he was not without follies.

This book is well worth the read for those interested in the history of lobbying US. While some might find it depressing that lobbying has not changed much over the years, its nice to know nothing’s new.

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  • davud chandler

    Sam Ward was my grandfather’s grandfather and my grandmother;s uncle. I have read other books about him. I plan to buy and enjoy this book.,