For years the designer Blackwell has been dining out on his 10 best-and-worst-dressed celebrity lists; People magazine has made hay out of its 50-most-beautiful people issues; now Melvin G. Holli gets into the act with The American Mayor: The Best and Worst Big-City Leaders. If Holli's lists are neither as frivolous nor as pulchritudinous as Blackwell's nor People's, in their own way, they're certainly as interesting. Polling some 160 experts ranging from journalists to historians to social scientists, Holli has compiled both the required lists of the 10 best and 10 worst mayors in the United States from 1820 to the present and also some fascinating insights into what separates the good from the bad. In addition to biographies of each, and a summary of his or her major accomplishments (or lack thereof), the book also contains several chapters analyzing just what qualities contribute to a successful mayor. Anyone interested in city government--or leadership in general--will find much to admire (and probably more than a few conclusions to argue with) in this best-and-worst list for civic-minded readers.
“An intelligent, inquisitive public will find The American Mayor to be worthwhile and interesting reading. Holli asks his own questions about the nature of leadership, providing interpretations which are original and significant. This is a remarkable book which should be required reading for all students of urban history, public policy, or political science.”
—Michael P. Weber, Duquesne University