Ira Shapiro Global Strategies, LLC

Publication

The Last Great Senate: Courage and Statesmanship in Times of Crisis, by Ira Shapiro,  was published in February 2012 by PublicAffairs.  The book is a narrative history of the Senate from 1977 through 1980, which the author shows to be the last years of the great Senate that America had from the early 1960’s through 1980.  By telling the story of the Senate during the challenging years of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the author tells a rich story of prodigious accomplishments in domestic and foreign policy, and brings to life the extraordinary senators of the period, including Ted Kennedy, Howard Baker, Robert Byrd, Jacob Javits, Edmund Muskie, Henry Jackson, Bob Dole and many others.  The Last Great Senate has received critical acclaim.  The Washington Post described it as “a tour-de-force.”  The Philadelphia Inquirer said the book could be for the current Congress what then Senator John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage was for the post-World War II war generation on Capitol Hill.  Richard A. Baker, the Senate Historian Emeritus and author of The American Senate called the book “a historically and politically artistic work of great brilliance.”   When “House of Cards” began its second season, The Last Great Senate showed up, unexpectedly and improbably, on the desk of Vice President Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey).

Ira Shapiro has described the genesis of the book in this way:  “I discovered something that was in plain sight, but hadn’t been noticed.  If you Google the words “great Senate,” you will find nothing other than my book.  No one had recognized that for a period of almost 20 years, from 1963 through 1980, America had a Senate that functioned the way the Founding Fathers had envisioned the Senate, bringing wisdom, judgment and experience to take collective action in the nation’s interest.   That Senate was vastly different from the Senate that came before it, and certain bears no resemblance to the Senate today, after a twenty year downward spiral.”  Mr. Shapiro continues to write and speak extensively about the Senate because he believes that only a revitalized Senate has the potential to change America’s dysfunctional politics immediately for the better.