Written in preeminent legislative studies scholar Richard Fenno’s "homespun" story-telling style, Congressional Travels argues that authenticity -- knowing what a representative is like in his/her district and looking beyond mere roll-call voting -- contributes significantly to understanding the full body of work done by our members of Congress. It further posits that the best way to gain a sense of authenticity is to do what Fenno is most famous for, i.e., making multiple trips and spending a great deal of time observing representatives at home in their districts, with their constituents. The book is engaging, quietly provocative, and unique, offering an alternative to what some consider the increasingly specialized and technical nature of political science.
This tenth anniversary edition includes an illuminating new Foreword by renowned congressional scholar Morris P. Fiorina, adding to the appreciation of Richard Fenno and this work over the years.
Praise for the Tenth Anniversary Edition
For four decades, Richard "Dick" Fenno, has almost single-handedly kept the ethnographic tradition alive in the subfield of American politics. He has done so both through the example set by his work and by periodic reflections about the implications of that work for academic research and journalistic commentary on Congress. Those dual aims converge in Congressional Travels. . . . It is fortunate that this tenth anniversary edition provides a chance to re-introduce this book to a new generation of students, professionals—and journalists.
Morris P. Fiorina, Stanford University, from the Foreword
It is great news for students and teachers alike that Richard Fenno's classic study, Congressional Travels, is back in this Tenth Anniversary edition, introducing yet another generation to the wealth of insights into Congress that emerge through his close observation of our national legislators – both "down home" in their constituencies and at work in the Capitol.
Lawrence C. Dodd, University of Florida-Gainesville
Few if any social scientists are able to combine insight and readability as well as Dick Fenno does in Congressional Travels. In the process, he charts a much-needed course for humanizing elected officials in an era of anti-politician bombast and acrimony. This handsome anniversary edition brings Fenno’s classic work back into circulation just as it is most needed.
John R. Hibbing, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dick Fenno has spent his professional life teaching students and scholars that in order to make sense of the actions of members of Congress in Washington, you have to know how they connect with their constituents back home. With his customary literary grace and clarity, Fenno, in this important addition to his remarkable collection of studies, directs this message to the community of journalists and pundits who cover the Hill. They should heed it, for it remains timely and wise.
Gary C. Jacobson, University of California-San Diego
Praise for the Original Edition
As one reads Fenno, one is struck not just with the number of questions his research answers, but the new questions that he raises for a newer generation of congressional scholars to address. We too would be well advised to heed Dick Fenno’s advice, get our suitcases out and do some of our own congressional travels.
Bruce Oppenheimer, Vanderbilt University, from a review in The Forum
Dick Fenno is unequaled as a student of legislative representation. For many years, through carefully observing members of Congress in their districts and in Washington, D.C., he has provided valuable insights about relations between representatives and their constituencies. This new book offers Fenno’s reflections about how and why he has done these studies, and no one interested in the sinews of representative democracy will want to miss it.
David R. Mayhew, Yale University
In Congressional Travels, the master authenticator in congressional research argues for the utility of authenticity in understanding representation. He asks Washington journalists to pay attention, too, relying on vivid cases from his travels to persuade them to incorporate constituencies into their reporting on the work of Congress. How can this be anything but good?
Charles O. Jones, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dick Fenno is a master of weaving story-telling with an analytic perspective. He tells compelling stories and his choice of members will appeal to students of all political stripes. This is vintage Fenno, well-written and beautifully told.
Eric Uslaner, University of Maryland-College Park
Foreword to the Tenth Anniversary Edition
Morris P. Fiorina
Preface to the Original Edition
PART I. Thinking About Politicians
1. A Story About Place: Joe Moakley’s Funeral
2. One Question, Two Perspectives
3. An Idea: Authenticity
4. Washington Perspectives: Practice & Possibility
5. Research: Personal and Professional
PART II. Tracking Politicians
6. The Salesman and the Old Pro
7. Ben Rosenthal, 1970-1974: Straightforward Liberal
8. Gary Ackerman, 1996-1998: Gregarious Local Boy
9. David McIntosh and Lindsey Graham: Constituency Connections
10. Washington: The Leader and The Player
11. Constituency Views and Washington Views