It is difficult to know where to begin when attempting to summarize in a few hundred words my thoughts about this book. Perhaps it is best to follow the chronology of events that led to its publication by Columbia University Press. This project began as my dissertation for the political science department at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. While this book bears little resemblance to the dissertation defended almost a decade ago, the initial ideas and approaches laid out in that work served as building blocks for my subsequent research. That my dissertation work served me well in my future research is a credit to my core committee members, Linda Fowler, now at Dartmouth, Tom Patterson, now at Harvard, and Jeff Stonecash. From each of these professors, colleagues, and friends, I have learned much. I am grateful for their time and effort during the early stage of my career. Beyond these key faculty members, I also benefited from the support of the Maxwell School through its Maxwell Alumni Dissertation Fellowship. In addition, I would like to thank Paul Peterson, then Director of Governmental Studies at the Brookings Institution, for providing support for my dissertation research at Brookings for the 1985–1986 academic year.
During the past decade, I have been influenced by the scholarship and intellectual stimulation of a number of colleagues, past and present, including Lynette Rummell, Rhys Payne, Jon Hale, Joe Aistrup, Gregg Ivers, Diane Singerman, Christine DeGregorio, and John Boiney. Special thanks to David Rosenbloom, who has served as an important source of support, first as a professor and now as a colleague. In addition to these friends, there are several additional scholars, colleagues, and friends to whom I am intellectually indebted. Their work on interest groups has guided and inspired me; the imprint of each will be recognizable in the pages that follow. My