The Great Mayor

The Great Mayor

Fiorello La Guardia and the Making of the City of New York

Book - 2003
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In The Great Mayor , author Alyn Brodsky presents the first comprehensive and accessible biography of Fiorello H. La Guardia. Prior to becoming New York's pre-eminent mayor, La Guardia was a distinguished U.S. congressman, a commander of the U.S. air forces during World War I, and a rambunctious member of the U.S. Consular Service. La Guardia was one of our nation's most incorruptible politicians ever, a paradigm of honesty and virtue in American political history.

As a progressive Republican New York congressman, La Guardia supported women's suffrage, child labor regulations, and was a major proponent of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, establishing himself as an energetic, effective, and dedicated politician. He brought these same qualities to his three terms as New York City's mayor, transforming the five independent boroughs into today's unified city. He expanded relief and social services, undertook the construction of parks and public housing, updated mass transit, cleaned up corrupt city departments, and much more.

Brodsky effectively captures the boundless energy and zest for accomplishment that led La Guardia to leave his indelible print on our nation's political history and, most significantly, today's modern New York City.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2003.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780312287375
Branch Call Number: 921 LA GUARDIA, FIORELLO
Characteristics: xiii, 530 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.


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Aug 25, 2013

This is a fascinating and highly enjoyable biography of the colorful and beloved Fiorello La Guardia, New York City's greatest mayor. As someone fed up with today's political climate, I experienced great joy in reading about a truly honest politician, with a life-long passion to champion the underclass. La Guardia was a free-wheeling Air Force officer during World War I, promoting military air power. For 14 years he was a maverick, progressive Republican congressman, whose advanced ideas were carried out as part of the New Deal 10 years after he espoused them. And for 12 years he was mayor of New York City, forever changing its physical, political and cultural aspects. The 5'2" rotund La Guardia, with a high-pitched voice, was flamboyant, theatrical, pig-headed, bullying and many times wrong-headed. But he also had boundless energy, a visionary outlook and the disposition for being a superb politician and a great leader. This book gives a well-rounded look at this extraordinary man. There are clips of La Guardia on Youtube, the most famous showing him reading the Sunday comics on the radio during a New York City newspaper strike (after reading a Dick Tracy episode he comments "...children, what does it all mean? It means," he says, raising his distinctive voice "that dirty money never brings any luck."). Another famous clip shows him wielding a pickax to demolish confiscated slot machines and then throwing them into Long Island Sound. La Guardia waged a constant war against political corruption, racketeering and other forms of crime. He was a one-of-a-kind figure, which this excellent biography proves.


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