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. In Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics, Ron Peters, one of America's leading scholars of Congress, and Cindy Simon 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, highlight the core themes that have shaped, and continue to shape, her remarkable caree, and discuss the challenges that women face in the male-dominated world of American politics, particularly at its highest levels. The authors also shed light on Pelosi's 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 a successful politician in what is probably the most liberal city in the country, San Francisco. Peters and Rosenthal trace how she built her base within the House Democratic Caucus and ultimately consolidated enough power to win the Speakership. They show how twelve years out of power allowed her to fashion a new image for House Democrats, and they conclude with an analysis of her institutional leadership style. The only full-length portrait of Nancy Pelosi in print, this superb volume offers a vivid and insightful analysis of one of America's most remarkable politicians.