Desk 88
Since his election to the U.S. Senate in 2006, Ohio’s Sherrod Brown has sat on the Senate floor at a mahogany desk with a proud history. In Desk 88, he tells the story of eight of the Senators who were there before him. "Perhaps the most imaginative book to emerge from the Senate since Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts produced Profiles in Courage." —David M. Shribman, The Boston GlobeDespite their flaws and frequent setbacks, each made a decisive contribution to the creation of a more just America. They range from Hugo Black, who helped to lift millions of American workers out of poverty, to Robert F. Kennedy, whose eyes were opened by an undernourished Mississippi child and who then spent the rest of his life afflicting the comfortable. Brown revives forgotten figures such as Idaho’s Glen Taylor, a singing cowboy who taught himself economics and stood up to segregationists, and offers new insights into George McGovern, who fought to feed the poor around the world even amid personal and political calamities. He also writes about Herbert Lehman of New York, Al Gore Sr. of Tennessee, Theodore Francis Green of Rhode Island, and William Proxmire of Wisconsin.Together, these eight portraits in political courage tell a story about the triumphs and failures of the Progressive idea over the past century: in the 1930s and 1960s, and more intermittently since, politicians and the public have successfully fought against entrenched special interests and advanced the cause of economic or racial fairness. Today, these advances are in peril as employers shed their responsibilities to employees and communities, and a U.S. president gives cover to bigotry. But the Progressive idea is not dead.Recalling his own career, Brown dramatizes the hard work and high ideals required to renew the social contract and create a new era in which Americans of all backgrounds can know the “Dignity of Work.”

Desk 88 Details

TitleDesk 88
Author
ReleaseNov 5th, 2019
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN-139780374722029
Rating
GenrePolitics, History, Nonfiction, Biography, North American Hi..., American History

Desk 88 Review

  • Jean
    January 1, 1970
    Sherrod Brown is the democratic senior senator from Ohio. He sits at desk number 88 in the Senate. He tells about the senators who have had the seat before him, such as: Senator Hugo Black; he had the desk from 1927 to 1937. Some of the other Senators that sat at this desk were George McGovern, Al Gore, Robert F. Kennedy and Theodore Green. Brown tells about each of the eight men and he works in information about himself. I was surprised at how many decades it took to stop child labor. Sherrod Brown is the democratic senior senator from Ohio. He sits at desk number 88 in the Senate. He tells about the senators who have had the seat before him, such as: Senator Hugo Black; he had the desk from 1927 to 1937. Some of the other Senators that sat at this desk were George McGovern, Al Gore, Robert F. Kennedy and Theodore Green. Brown tells about each of the eight men and he works in information about himself. I was surprised at how many decades it took to stop child labor. Apparently, business and the Republicans fought every child labor law sent to the Senate. I found the information on Senator Lehman interesting. I sort of had the feeling I was in the Senate and the desk was talking to me. The book was interesting and well worth the read.I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book was twelve hours and forty-six minutes. Sherrod Brown and Leon Nixon do a good job narrating the book. Nixon is an actor and voice-over artist.
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  • John Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    Exceptional!Rich history of those who are elected to help working people rather than the rich. Interesting stories of people who made America a better place to work and live. It’s just the honest, well written story we need with today’s sad political state. Even people who don’t like politics will like this book, perhaps even more so.
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  • Cristie Underwood
    January 1, 1970
    I love that Senator Brown wrote this book detailing how the previous Senators to sit at Desk 88 impacted history with their service. Each one had setbacks, but was still able to contribute to the better of America. This book is one that needs to be read, as it emphasizes the contributions made by Senators in the past and how working together with others can truly impact the future of our Country. We live in divided times and this book shows how Senators with different values held the same seat I love that Senator Brown wrote this book detailing how the previous Senators to sit at Desk 88 impacted history with their service. Each one had setbacks, but was still able to contribute to the better of America. This book is one that needs to be read, as it emphasizes the contributions made by Senators in the past and how working together with others can truly impact the future of our Country. We live in divided times and this book shows how Senators with different values held the same seat and were able to each make positive change.
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  • Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir
    January 1, 1970
    It has been almost two decades since Robert Caro published volume three of his biography of Lyndon Johnson, MASTER OF THE SENATE, which covered the years from 1949 to 1960 when Johnson served in the United States Senate. The book was a revelation about the history and workings of the Senate and how Johnson mastered the organization as no politician before him. When it released in 2002, Sherrod Brown represented Ohio in Congress. In 2006, he would win election to the Senate. He has been It has been almost two decades since Robert Caro published volume three of his biography of Lyndon Johnson, MASTER OF THE SENATE, which covered the years from 1949 to 1960 when Johnson served in the United States Senate. The book was a revelation about the history and workings of the Senate and how Johnson mastered the organization as no politician before him. When it released in 2002, Sherrod Brown represented Ohio in Congress. In 2006, he would win election to the Senate. He has been re-elected twice, which is no easy task, given the state’s conservative electorate and his unabashed progressive leanings. As the 2020 presidential campaign began, many progressives hoped he would run for president, but for now he has chosen to remain in the Senate.DESK 88 is part autobiography and part historical account of the Senate through the story of the men who occupied the desk that Brown now occupies on the floor of the Senate. Upon his arrival in the Senate, he was given the responsibility of selecting a desk for the Senate floor. The traditions of the Senate run deep, and one of them is that most senators at some point carve their names in the drawers of their desks on the Senate floor. Brown’s search led him to Desk 88, previously occupied by Hugo Black of Alabama, George McGovern of South Dakota, Robert Kennedy of New York, William Proxmire of Wisconsin, and several other progressive senators. Brown had found his Senate home.Anyone who has seen or heard Brown speak on issues important to him will appreciate the organization and writing of DESK 88. Just like its author, the book is well-organized and passionate. He alternates chapters on his predecessors with his own career and political views on important contemporary issues. Recounting the fascinating history of former U.S. senators serves as a reminder that although we are at a complex, perilous moment in our nation’s history, we have been here before.The biographical portraits also shed light on the continuing evolution of life in American politics. Hugo Black was a progressive senator from Alabama, yet he was also a member of the Ku Klux Klan. His membership became public as he was nominated and confirmed to serve on the United States Supreme Court. In contemporary America, it is doubtful that Black would have been confirmed. Nor would men like Glen Taylor or George McGovern ever have been elected to the Senate, as they ran shoestring campaigns without any significant campaign donations. Before the days of television, social media and candidate imaging, candidates could make their appeal to the public in a far different manner than we see in America today.In the personal portion of DESK 88, Brown makes the case that the progressive idea is not dead. You may not agree with him, but embracing his politics is not a requirement for appreciating the deep and endearing history of the progressive era in America. There was a time in our country when political disagreement could still find politicians seeking common ground for the public good. Brown reminds us of those bygone days, which hopefully will return to America’s political stage.Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
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  • Lamadia
    January 1, 1970
    I did not expect to like this book this much. I've only lived in Ohio for five years, but I have gotten to vote for Sherrod Brown once. I learned so much about these eight ex-senators and the progressive movement throughout the twentieth century. I pay attention to politics and consider myself an informed liberal, but there was so much I didn't know and should have. While I had voted for Brown, I only now consider myself a fan! You will only like this if you like progressive politics to begin I did not expect to like this book this much. I've only lived in Ohio for five years, but I have gotten to vote for Sherrod Brown once. I learned so much about these eight ex-senators and the progressive movement throughout the twentieth century. I pay attention to politics and consider myself an informed liberal, but there was so much I didn't know and should have. While I had voted for Brown, I only now consider myself a fan! You will only like this if you like progressive politics to begin with, and it will also make you incredibly angry at those thwarting progressive legislation. And if you are a progressive, you should immediately make time to read this book.I listened to the audio book, and while there is an excellent narrator for the biographical sections about the different senators, Brown narrates the sections in between that are his own thoughts from the desk. I get why they didn't have him narrate the whole thing, but I like listening to Brown's distinctive gravelly voice for the in between sections.
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  • Phil
    January 1, 1970
    The tradition of Senators carving their names into their desks gave rise to history of eight from Desk 88. Chronologically, Brown begins with Hugo Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan who joined Congress in 1927 and became one of the most ardent supporters of FDR’s New Deal. He goes on to (most famously) Bill Proxmire, Al Gore Sr., Bobby Kennedy, and George McGovern. Brown is careful not to idealize his subjects, but does look for the transformative moment for each. Each profile is The tradition of Senators carving their names into their desks gave rise to history of eight from Desk 88. Chronologically, Brown begins with Hugo Black, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan who joined Congress in 1927 and became one of the most ardent supporters of FDR’s New Deal. He goes on to (most famously) Bill Proxmire, Al Gore Sr., Bobby Kennedy, and George McGovern. Brown is careful not to idealize his subjects, but does look for the transformative moment for each. Each profile is followed by Brown’s “Thoughts from Desk 88,” in which he offers a stout defense of such progressive policies. If you are interested in political biography and the history of legislation and the Senate, this is a great read.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    Sherrod Brown is a better Senator than he is a writer, but that speaks to what a great Senator he is. What I learned most from reading the stories of eight Senators who sat at Desk 88 was that compromise is part of the job. You need to look at the entirety of a person's life, rather than looking for a flaw and claiming that it discredits all the good things he or she fought for.Now it would be nice if a woman (or a minority) were to get to sit at Desk 88.
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  • Sharron
    January 1, 1970
    Crazy amount of detailed research on past progressive senators! The overlap is annoying in the reading. Also, after each person is a section where Brown relates it to something he has done while in the Senate, but there is some of that in the historical sections too. Tiny spoilerish comment......I wish he found a way to fix Al Gore Jr. signing it too.
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  • Jeimy
    January 1, 1970
    The book was interesting, but my rating is affected by the fact that I wish Brown was a better raconteur. One thing is clear, the author not only respects his predecessors at Desk 88, but also his position and his constituents.
  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Highly recommend this well written book about several icons (though not all well known) who've contributed greatly to our society.
  • MCZ Reads
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not sure why this is a different edition, but the copy I checked out from the library is a hardcover copy of Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America.
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