Book Salon Preview – Barney Frank: The Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman

Sunday, December 13, 2009 5:00pm ET over at FDL.

Barney Frank: The Story of America’s Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman

Chat with Stuart Weisberg about his new book. Hosted by Lane Hudson, who has posted here often.

In a survey conducted by Washingtonian magazine, Barney Frank was rated the smartest, funniest, and most eloquent member of Congress. A mainstay in the House of Representatives since 1981, he has come to be known for his talent as a legislator, his zeal for verbal combat, his imposing intellect, and a quick wit that both disarms and entertains other lawmakers. Most recently, as chair of the Financial Services Committee, he was instrumental in crafting a compromise bill to stem the tide of home mortgage foreclosures, as well as the subsequent $700 billion rescue plan.

Based on interviews with over 150 people, including more than twenty-five hours with Frank himself, this biography reconstructs for the first time his life and career, from his working-class childhood in Bayonne, New Jersey, to his years at Harvard and in Boston politics, through his rise to national prominence. Stuart Weisberg captures Frank in all his quirkiness, irreverence, and complexity. He also examines his less appealing side his gruff exterior, his legendary impatience, his aversion to wasting time. Weisberg reveals the pressure Frank has felt as the most prominent openly gay politician in the United States, one whose career was nearly derailed by a highly publicized sex scandal involving a male prostitute.

Above all, this book shows Frank to be a superb legislator a pragmatic politician who has dedicated his career to pursuing an unabashedly liberal agenda and whose depth of intellect and sense of humor have made him one of the most influential and colorful figures in Washington.

Stuart Weisberg is an attorney who spent ten years as staff director and chief counsel for the House Government Operations Subcommittee on Employment and Housing. He directed the subcommittee s lengthy investigation in 1989 of what came to known as the HUD scandal. During the Clinton administration, he served as chair of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, an independent federal adjudicative agency. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland. (Amazon.com)

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