Guide to Interest Groups and Lobbying in the United States

Article excerpt

Guide to Interest Groups and Lobbying in the United States. Edited by Burdett A. Loomis. Washington, D.C.: CQ Pr., 2011. 490p. acid free $185 (ISBN: 978-1-60426-4579). E-book available (978-1-60871-756-9), call for pricing.

There are probably very few Americans who have not encountered an interest group or lobbying organization in one guise or the other, either via a phone call, a direct mailing, a TV or radio commercial, or a one-on-one conversation. That contact may be ongoing or a one-time occurrence, but conceptualizing the history, method, and actions behind those encounters reveals an extensive, complex system that has been a part of the U.S. government since its constitutional founding. Editor Burdett Loomis has put together a fine resource that begins to examine these issues and presents not only practical information, but a theoretical framework for students, researchers, and others who have more than a layman's interest in the subject.

The work is divided into seven main topical areas, including a history of interest groups in the United States from the constitutional framing to the twentieth century, the relationship between interest groups and the growth of government, tactics and techniques, campaigns and money, and interest groups beyond Washington (that is, local, state, and global). Black and white photographs and illustrations appear throughout, and an extensive index is included.

This is a broad resource that examines the nature of these organized interests and especially their behavior. More than 40 contributors, primarily scholars, provide their expertise on a range of topics that seek to give the reader or researcher a strong foundation in the fundamentals of lobbying, lobbyists, and organized interests, as well as the important historical context from which they have emerged. …