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When the Democrats retook control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2007 after twelve years in the wilderness, Nancy Pelosi became the first woman speaker in American history. Given current electoral trends, she will probably serve for many terms to come. In Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics, Ron Peters, one of America's leading scholars of Congress, and Cindy Rosenthal, one of America's leading scholars on women and political leadership, provide a comprehensive account of how Pelosi became speaker and what this tells us about Congress in the twenty-first century. They consider the key issues that Pelosi's rise presents for American politics, and also on the core themes that have shaped, and continue to shape, her remarkable career. She has always had to deal with challenges that women face in the male-dominated world of American politics, particularly at its highest levels. The authors also focus on her political background: first as the scion of a powerful Baltimore political family whose power base lay in east coast urban ethnic politics, and later as successful politician in what is probably the most liberal city in the country, San Francisco. After exploring her roots, they trace how she built her base within the House Democratic Caucus and ultimately consolidated enough power to win the leadership. They then consider how twelve years out of power allowed her to fashion a new image for House Democrats, and close with an analysis of her institutional leadership style. The book will be the first scholarly account of this major American political leader in her institutional context, and the authors will carry the account through the first year of the Obama administration.