Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Witness to History, by Janet M. Neugebauer, REVIEW Lonestar Blogger Tours

                                               
A WITNESS TO HISTORY
George H. Mahon,
West Texas Congressman
by
By Janet M. Neugebauer
Foreword by Kent Hance

  Genre: Texas History / Politics / Biography
Date of Publication: June 30 2017
Number of Pages: 576

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    This is the story of George H. Mahon, a man who went to Congress in 1935, when the House Committee on Appropriations still allocated a small amount of money to buy military horses. Forty-four years later, when Mahon retired as Chairman of that same committee, the committee was debating funds to purchase a bomber capable of traveling at 2,000 miles an hour. With a career spanning nearly a half century—spanning almost the entire Cold War—Mahon grew from a West Texas country lawyer to one of the most powerful men in the US House of Representatives, serving twenty-two consecutive terms from 1935–1978.
During his time in Congress, Mahon worked easily with the giants of government, enjoying the friendship and confidence of seven of the eight presidents with whom he served. He worked just as comfortably with his constituents in the Nineteenth Congressional District of Texas. Mahon served on several Congressional committees, but it is through his service on the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations that he had the greatest national impact. He often bragged that under his leadership the Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations was the most non-partisan committee in Congress. Mahon led the subcommittee with a strong but gentle hand that earned him the respect of all who served with him.


    Janet M. Neugebauer is deputy director of the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University. Her many works include Lambshead Legacy and Plains Farmer.

Kent Hance is a former Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System and a former member of the US House of Representatives.




I am thrilled that I was allowed the chance to read the advanced copy of "A Witness to History," about a man who affected my life so greatly; a quiet, get-your-business-done, life-long politician who cared about the people of the state and country of my birth.  I love history, and politics, and learning more about war and my country, and I  thoroughly enjoyed reading this hefty book. 

"A Witness to History" is well named, for though George H. Mahon was a Congressman practically all of his adult life, and though he served on extremely important committees, (such as that over military budget), he was never one of those flashy politicians who are constantly noticed and in the news. Rather, he got his job done and he kept his constituents in mind. He watched history and influenced it. He knew how to compromise and seek solutions. Regardless of what colors we vote, I think these are things we should at least consider important for our Congressional electorate to emulate.

The book is very much a telling of the history of our country while Congressman Mahon was in office. For that reason, it is aptly named.  It is substantial and somewhat daunting (but isn't our country worth it?).  It is an excellent book for our shelves, and should be required reading for several folks: persons in political office and persons voting on persons in political office; persons from West Texas; persons considering running for office; and persons who have recently become, or have always been, interested in the governance of our country.  This book taught me some things I didn't know about where we have been, and it made me more deeply consider my stance on our country as a whole and where we are going.  

I want to tell you everything I learned, but there is just too much.  Here is a very short list: the US lack of military preparedness for World War II; how Lubbock obtained the Air Force Base; how the US got into and out of Korea; the importance of Speaker Sam Rayburn (from Bonham, Texas), and the fact that three Presidents (Kennedy, Truman, and Eisenhower) came to Bonham for his funeral (as did Mahon); the hope and tragedy of the Kennedy years; and the tragedy of Nixon.  And Mahon was closely involved in all of those things.

Though the book is large, it is very accessible. Dr. Neugebauer's style is precise and easily flows.  I highly encourage you to put it on your reading list and pre-order it today. 



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   April 26-May 7, 2017 
 
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4/26  Review  Reading By Moonlight
 
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5/2  Review  Forgotten Winds

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5/4  Sneak   Peek Images  Chapter Break Book Blog

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