"The book clearly has a point of view," Wayne Barrett admits in the preface to his biography of the famously prickly New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. A point of view, or a very sharp hatchet--readers might well get the two confused. For a representative sample, simply turn to the book's final pages: "The father he celebrated so often was a pathological predator. His extended family harbored a junkie, a crooked cop and a murky mob wing. He dissolved his first marriage with a lie so he could appear Catholic when he remarried. The very personal jewelry his first wife found in her bedroom wasn't hers...." And so on and so on, for a full eight paragraphs.
What precedes this litany are some startling revelations about Harold Giuliani's unsavory past, as well as gritty new details about his son's mayoral love life. (We get chapters entitled, respectively, "All in the Family: Crooks, Cops and a Junkie," "Sex in the City," and "More Sex in the City"). But Barrett--a senior editor at the Village Voice--has equally devastating things to say about matters of policy. Though he concedes that the city has become a better place to live under Giuliani, he convincingly argues that the mayor takes credit where credit isn't due. Barrett also points to the price Gotham has paid for its kinder, gentler makeover: deteriorating race relations, escalating tension between New Yorkers and police, and an increasingly difficult life for the city's underclass.
As depicted in Rudy! Giuliani is the kind of politician who doctors statistics, backpedals on key issues, and caves to political cronies even while maintaining a façade of scrupulous honesty. As a person--well, it won't surprise anyone to learn that Giuliani is egomaniacal, callous, and obsessed with control. (On a visit to a Haitian baseball factory, for instance, he's far more interested in how the balls are put together than how the workers are treated.) And if the attack sometimes seems a little personal (the mayor's arrogance "is like body odor to Rudy, repellent to others but undetectable to him"), that's because it is. One of Giuliani's defenders during his years as U.S. attorney, Barrett used to be known as a "Rudy man," and his more vituperative descriptions smack not just of disillusionment but of actual betrayal. Hell may have no fury like a journalist scorned, but at least on the basis of the behavior depicted here, Giuliani deserves most of what he's getting. Sharp, withering, and improbably up-to-date--one pictures Barrett scribbling like mad right up to the bitter end--Rudy! is a political biography in the finest muckraking tradition. --Mary Park
From the Inside Flap
Rudy Guiliani. New York City's Mayor. America's Number One Cop. A municipal superhero who needs no phone booth. A politician of astonishing complexity whose full story has never been told. Until now.
Guiliani has assumed mythic proportions, the can-do emblem of the new urban politics. He has been heralded as the ultimate turn-around artist - projecting himself as the reformer who single-handedly salvaged a crime-ridden and blighted New York. From his days in the Eighties as the Michael Milken-busting U.S. Attorney of Manhattan to his current purge of hundreds of thousands from his city's welfare rolls, Giuliani has targeted rich and poor with the same relentless certitude.
This investigative biography starts with the college kid who confided his presidential dream to his girlfriend and practiced future campaign speeches in front of her at home. It analyzes his substantial impact as U.S. Attorney, badly wounding the Mafia, ransacking the white collared halls of Wall Street and forever changing the face of New York politics. It looks at his celebrated crime reduction and other achievements through a new lens, highlighting the single-mindedness that has made Giuliani one of America's most important and controversial figures.
With two marriages as troubled and secretive as his family history, Giuliani is on every New Yorker's therapeutic couch, stirring feelings as intense as the ones that visibly boil inside of him. Though he has become a national legend, his re-election total in 1997 was the lowest in seventy-four years.
Wayne Barrett, co-author of the bestselling City for Sale, draws on twenty years of reporting on Giuliani to bring us the most comprehensive and newsbreaking biography of a man of giant contradictions and unpredictable expectations.
Wayne Barrett is a senior editor at the Village Voice, where he's been covering politics for twenty-two years. He is the author of Trump: The Deals and the Downfall and co-author of City for Sale. He was awarded the 1990 Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Alumni Award as well as numerous other journalism prizes.
Adam Fifield, who assisted Barrett, recently published his own first book, A Blessing Over Ashes (William Morrow).
Praise for City for Sale:
"An absorbing chronicle of corruption that meticulously exposes Mayor Edward Koch's alibis and diversions.They employ a narrative style that manages to combine Joe McGinniss and Joe Friday. They tell an arresting story-literally-that blends courtroom drama, political intrigue and the psychology of power. Their touches of color vivify the prevalence and the 'banality of evil.'...City for Sale is important not only for its text but for its context."
-Mark Green, The Nation
-The New Yorker
Praise for Trump: The Deals and the Downfall:
"Trump is a withering portrait of the most self-mythologized and promoted businessman of our era, an exhaustively researched and long-overdue antidote to Trump's own books. It is a penetrating portrait of the age that spawned him and the many who aided and abetted his rise. Trump seems destined to be the definitive account of how Trump got ahead and why he fell. It is a sad story, with important lessons for us all."
-James B. Stewart, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Den of Thieves
"Donald Trump surprises us again. Wayne Barrett's Trump is a fresh, detailed, and vivid account of the tangled connections of money, politics, and power in our times."
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-Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguy