The Congress: The Swamp Fox

World War I was raging in Europe, the Panama Canal had been open only a few months, and John F. Kennedy was not yet born, when a countryish, 30-year-old Georgia lawyer named Carl Vinson was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The date was Nov. 3, 1914. All of the other men who were members that day have since departed from the House, but Vinson remains. On his pinnacle of seniority, he is, at 79, a wielder of vast power and influence, one of the most formidable old lions in Congress.

From the start, Congressman Vinson...

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