“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” is how congressional reporter Guy Gugliotta compares the political climate today to the one leading up to the Civil War. The 1850s were indeed a period of profound partisanship, yet the two parties still managed to broker a massive expansion of the U.S. Capitol Building. The effort was spearheaded by future Confederate president Jefferson Davis, at the time a senator from Mississippi. In Freedom’s Cap, Gugliotta details the rabid politics surrounding the design and construction of the United States’ most potent symbol of democracy. • $35; Hill and Wang, February 2012