Tolchin, Martin 1928-
TOLCHIN, Martin 1928-
PERSONAL: Born September 20, 1928, in Brooklyn, NY; son of Charles (a furrier) and Evelyn (a homemaker; maiden name, Weissman) Tolchin; married Susan Jane Goldsmith (a professor), December 23, 1965; children: Charles, Karen. Education: Attended University of Utah, 1947-49; New York Law School, LL.B., 1951. Religion: Jewish.
ADDRESSES: Home—3525 Winfield Lane N.W., Washington, DC 20007-2378. Office—The Hill, 733 15th St. N.W., Washington, DC 20005-2112. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Journalist and author. New York Times, New York, NY, copy boy and clerk, 1954-57, reporter, 1957—, city hall bureau chief, 1969-73, with Washington, DC, bureau, 1973-94; The Hill, Washington, DC, publisher and editor-in-chief, 1994—. Columbia School of Journalism, associate in journalism, 1969-73. Military service: U.S. Army, 1951-53.
MEMBER: National Press Club (Washington, DC).
AWARDS, HONORS: Gold Typewriter Award, E. M. Schaeffer Co., Citizens Budget Community award, and Page One Award, New York Newspaper Guild, all 1967, all for articles on municipal hospitals; Page One Award, 1969, for articles on consulting contracts, and 1973, for articles on the South Bronx; Everett McKinley Dirksen Award, 1983, for distinguished reporting of Congress; Buying into America: How Foreign Money Is Changing the Face of the Nation was selected as one of the year's ten best business books by Business Week, 1988.
with wife, susan j. tolchin
To the Victor: Political Patronage from the Clubhouse to the White House, Random House (New York, NY), 1971.
Clout: Womanpower and Politics, Coward, McCann (New York, NY) 1974.
Dismantling America: The Rush to Deregulate, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1983.
Buying into America: How Foreign Money Is Changing the Face of the Nation, Times Books (New York, NY), 1988.
Selling Our Security: The Erosion of America's Assets, Knopf (New York, NY), 1992.
Glass Houses: Congressional Ethics and the Politics of Venom, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 2001.
The Tolchins' works have been translated into Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.
SIDELIGHTS: Martin and Susan J. Tolchin's first book as coauthors, To the Victor: Political Patronage from the Clubhouse to the White House, discusses the longstanding practice, by winning candidates, of appointing their constituents to strategic government positions. In the Tolchins' view, one of the major abuses arising from the practice of patronage is the appointment of judges based not on their qualifications but on party loyalty or, in some cases, in return for monetary favors rendered to the party or to the politician's campaign fund. "The black robe is indeed the prime article of commerce remaining to the party organization," reported Murray Kempton in the New York Review of Books. "Yet the official bar," Kempton continued, "generally lives uncomplainingly with this state of things in cities like New York where, say the Tolchins, the wives of judges indulge in wry jokes about how long it will take the family to pay for its seat."
Also political in subject matter, Clout: Womanpower and Politics is a descriptive and prescriptive foray into women's roles in politics, past, present, and future. Some of the book's most useful discourse concerns the reasons why women have often failed to establish successful political careers, according to Richard R. Lingeman in the New York Times. The list of obstacles includes "antediluvian attitudes of the clubhouse politicians and the big-city machines, with their traditional male bonding patterns," "the fears and inhibitions and habitual deference to the male of many women," and "entrenched male antipathy both within the political machinery … and outside it," Lingeman noted. He recommended Clout as "mainly a valuable interim report on what is blowing in the wind, rather than a meteorological map," but said that it "leaves one with the heartening impression of a women's politics seeping upward from the grass roots."
In their third book, Dismantling America: The Rush to Deregulate, the Tolchins focus on trends in health and safety regulation relating to American industry in the 1970s and 1980s. Their discussion focuses mainly on the wave of deregulation that occurred after the Reagan administration took office in 1980, according to Paul Richter in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. The argument the Tolchins espouse is that attempts at deregulation have the potential to disrupt the equilibrium between large and small businesses within the U.S. economy. Selling Our Security: The Erosion of America's Assets looks at the risk to U.S. technological supremacy caused by foreign investment in U.S. based companies; according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, the couples' "hard-hitting report on an issue of vital interest to American prosperity … will surely stir debate."
The Tolchins' 2001 book, Glass Houses: Congressional Ethics and the Politics of Venom, examines the ethics process of the U.S. Congress. Formerly used only to restrain truly inappropriate behavior, during the Clinton administration the ethics process was used as a tool in partisan politics. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Tolchins explain, no formal ethics process was established, and each ethical "violation" within Congress was dealt with individually. However, this changed in response to the increasing number of accusations of impropriety that characterized the battle between the Republican-led Congress and the Democratic presidential administration during the 1990s. A Publishers Weekly writer expressed the opinion that, while Glass Houses is somewhat superficial in its coverage, overall it serves as an "adroit, convincing examination of the ethical pressures and problems that continue to confront our representatives in Congress." Praising the authors' research—which included interviews with many members of Congress—Washington Monthly contributor Nicholas Confessore called Glass Houses "revealing" and noted that the Tolchins "are clearly well acquainted with their subject."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 2001, Mary Carroll, review of Glass Houses: Congressional Ethics and the Politics of Venom, p. 362.
Business Week, December 19, 1988, review of Buying into America: How Foreign Money Is Changing the Face of Our Nation, p. 14.
Commonweal, August 20, 1971.
Foreign Affairs, summer, 1988, William Diebold, Jr., review of Buying into America, p. 1120.
Harvard Business Review, January-February, 1989, Abraham Rotstein, review of Buying into America, p. 38.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, January 1, 1984, p. 9; March 27, 1988, p. 10.
National Journal, October 20, 2001, Michael Posner, review of Glass Houses, p. 3281.
New York Review of Books, May 6, 1971.
New York Times, January 6, 1984.
New York Times Book Review, November 24, 1974; October 16, 1983, p. 15; February 21, 1988, p. 9.
Political Science Quarterly, fall, 1988, Jewel Bellush, review of Buying into America, p. 568.
Publishers Weekly, August 3, 1992, review of Selling Our Security: The Erosion of America's Assets, p. 55; September 3, 2001, review of Glass Houses, p. 78.
Washington Monthly, October, 2001, Nicholas Confessore, review of Glass Houses, p. 58.
Washington Post Book World, January 8, 1984, p. 4.*