From Publishers Weekly
Brodsky has written the life of a New York City figure that ought to appeal to readers everywhere. Brodsky (Grover Cleveland) admires the half-Italian, half-Jewish congressman and mayor ("the last great paradigm of honesty and incorruptibility in American political history to date"), but he doesn't neglect La Guardia's (1882-1947) faults, which became especially apparent during his third term as mayor amid the turmoil of WWII. Brodsky has mined rich material about his subject's formative years in locales as diverse as North Dakota, the Arizona Territory and Italy (La Guardia settled in New York City, where he had been born, in 1906). Despite his disdain for social niceties, his outspokenness on political issues and his unimposing physical stature (5'2" and rotund), La Guardia reached the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from a Tammany-dominated district in 1912, standing for open immigration, equal treatment for minorities, harsh measures against political corruption and other progressive measures. La Guardia interrupted his political career to serve in the military during WWI, flying combat missions and serving as a liaison with the Italians and other U.S. allies. A hero upon his return, he eventually served another decade in Congress. Brodsky outlines a rich, varied career that culminated with "the Little Flower" 's election as New York's mayor in 1933. Brodsky's admiration for his subject-to whom, he says, New York City owes its present greatness-remains intact, despite the mayor's increasingly authoritarian nature as he consolidated power: "many considered New York's mayor the nation's mayor." 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
LaGuardia was mayor of New York City from 1933 to 1945, an unprecedented series of three, four-year terms--and this after serving seven terms in Congress. Brodsky begins with LaGuardia's early years, then recounts his years in Congress and in the Army Air Service during World War I, and follows his return to Congress before becoming New York's mayor. A paradigm of honesty and incorruptibility, LaGuardia was credited with breaking the grip of "boss" politics, replacing an antiquated city charter, and expanding relief and social services. He undertook a program of slum clearance, park construction, public housing, and road and bridge building "that literally recast the city physically." LaGuardia also launched what Brodsky calls "a vigorous assault on the city's racketeers and crooked politicians." The mayor's support of President Roosevelt's New Deal, Brodsky posits, was repaid by extensive federal funding for New York in the Depression-ridden 1930s. Both LaGuardia the man and the politician come alive in this absorbing biography, which will have a 16-page black-and-white photo insert. George CohenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved