Timothy McNulty & Brendan McNulty present The Meanest Man in Congress

Jack Brooks’s career in the U.S. House of Representatives embodied the extraordinary times of the latter half of the 20th century in America. A child of the Great Depression and then a young Marine in the jungles of the South Pacific in World War II, Brooks turned first to the law and then Texas state politics before setting off on an idealistic run for Congress. Over the next forty-two years, Brooks became one of the longest-serving members of the House and a master of moving legislation into law during a career that encompassed many watershed moments: he refused to support other Southern congressmen in opposing school integration; he rode in JFK’s motorcade in Dallas in 1963 and was on board Air Force One when his friend Lyndon Johnson was sworn into office; and his role in crafting Nixon’s articles of impeachment earned him the distinction of being the man Nixon called his “executioner.”

Unlike many politicians whose ambitions guide their careers, the irascible Brooks declared no interest other than serving the constituents of his district in southeastern Texas, just outside of Houston. He is credited with government projects that protected large areas of southeastern Texas from hurricane damage, opened up shipping lanes, and even, through clever legislative maneuvering, saved the International Space Station from being defunded. Brooks sought to improve the nuts and bolts of how the government functioned, from holding individual private contractors accountable to rewriting the nation’s procurement laws. Brooks’s concern for the public welfare and tenacious approach to public service make him an exemplar of a bygone era when politicians got things done. It would not be a stretch to say that Jack Brooks was one of the most influential congressmen nobody ever heard of, and this biography—coming at a time when Brooks’s brand of dogged, selfless service is in short supply—seeks to shine a light on his remarkable career.

Author Bio's:

Timothy McNulty’s long career in journalism includes years as a national, foreign, and White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. He later became the newspaper’s associate managing editor and public editor. Before retiring, he taught at the University of Chicago and at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he co-directed the National Security Journalism Initiative. He holds degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He currently lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Brendan McNulty’s interest in Democratic politics began during a Capitol Hill internship with Representative Robert Matsui of California and while writing for the Democratic National Committee during the 2004 presidential campaign. With degrees from the University of Virginia and from the prestigious IE Business School in Madrid, he has written papers and journal articles on topics from street crime in Chicago to education and behavioral studies in Haiti and other underdeveloped countries. He currently works for the World Bank in Washington, D.C.



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Event date: 
Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
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