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The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York, and the Genius of American Life Multimedia CD – September 3, 2007

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Product Details

  • CD-ROM: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio Inc.; Unabridged edition (September 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433203340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433203343
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.6 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,997,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its title, this book is more a biography of late-20th-century New York than of former Mayor Giuliani. Siegel (The Future Once Happened Here), a well-known figure in New York civic discussions, deftly traces the city's post-War spiral into fiscal and social malaise. In an opening section titled "New York Before Giuliani," Siegel describes how New York "turned the temporary emergency of the Great Depression into the permanent basis of its politics and government" by instituting decades of overly generous social programs, catering to special interest groups and amassing huge debts. Enter Giuliani. Siegel credits Guiliani with being a great synthesizer of new ideas about urban governance and policing, and he lauds the mayor's tough stance on crime and spending control. Though critics may claim that the city's turnaround in the '90s merely coincided with a nationwide economic upswing, Siegel touts the importance of the Giulini administration's economic, welfare-reform and crime-fighting policies. Siegel worked with Giuliani and is obviously a fan; indeed, his book seems geared toward polishing Giuliani's reputation for a possible presidential run. Fortunately for readers, though, he does not gloss over the former mayor's missteps. He describes Giuliani's divorce and how it became a messy public distraction, and he takes the ex-mayor to task for failing to institutionalize his fiscal reforms and for giving in, during his second term, to the temptation to buy votes with large public expenditures.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Elected as mayor to reform New York City, Rudolph Giuliani offended liberal pieties in arguably the most liberal city in America. According to Giuliani, crime's root cause was not poverty but lax law enforcement; poverty was not alleviated by social welfare programs but perpetuated by them; and the public schools needed not more money but fewer bureaucrats. Chronicling the application of these heretical precepts during Giuliani's mayoralty (1994-2002), urban historian Siegel examines the extent to which they reformed city affairs amid vocal resistance from unions, social-service agencies, the school bureaucracy, and identity-group politicians. His tone is generally supportive of Giuliani's aims, and Siegel prefaces his narrative with a summary of the city's chronic fiscal fragility, which conservative analysts diagnosed as the consequence of economy-suffocating taxes, regulations, and Mob shakedowns, and which liberals maintained was the result of insufficient taxes, social programs, and ethnic-group inclusiveness. Integrating pertinent statistics, Siegel presents a positive but not uncritical opinion of the Giuliani record, which is of interest in itself but especially if Giuliani runs for president. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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One man with energy and courage can indeed make a difference.
Manuel H. Rodriguez
This is a great book and an enjoyable read and I highly recommend it, but just keep in mind that the author has a very strong and obvious pro-Giuliani bias.
This work tells his story including the somewhat problematic chapters of his own personal life.
Shalom Freedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Fred Siegel's "The Prince of the City" is not a biography of Rudy Giuliani. It is a political history of New York City, New York State and the forces Giuliani had to face and fight. As such, the book becomes a tribute to a remarkable, but far from perfect, man and a frightening portrait of an American city where corrupt poltiicians, addled academics, clueless socialists and race-baiters have gone mad and imprisoned honest, working people in a neo-Marxist nightmare.

Siegel provides a short history of New York City politics from the 1930s onward. I had no idea of just how far to the left the city was and how the government took so much from working people in order to support a huge (600,000!) cadre of those who wouldn't work and myriad social service "providers" catering to their imagined needs. Siegel provides facts, not opinions. If he has an axe to grind, he's done a superb job of keeping it hidden.

Giuliani, facing the reality of the fiscal devestation wreaked by his predecessors, attempts to bring the budget under control. Needless to say the entrenched bureaucracies, unions and interest groups fight him every step of the way, resorting to lies, ad hominems and even the threat of violence in the form of race riots if Giuliani doesn't retreat or compromise.

Siegel paints a portrait of Giuliani that predicted the man the nation and world became familiar with on and after 9/11. A strong man, secure in his beliefs; a man who was willing and able to stand alone. As it happens, Siegel reveals Giuliani as a skillful poltician who was able to weave a small alliance of forward thinking politicians, even those who were his political opposites, but who had the welfare of New York at heart.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Manuel H. Rodriguez on June 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I began reading Siegel on New York several years ago. What he had to say changed my views on the proper role of government in the lives of real people as opposed to what theorists or statists believe it should be. When Giuliani was elected, politicians and police were convinced that crime could not be dealt with by law enforcement-"job training and education" were their answers so the police ended up responding to 911 calls and the city became mired in unchecked criminal activity and hooliganism. The liberal gospel had it that since poverty causes crime, nothing short of ridding society of it did much good. Federal, state and local governments, high taxes, an anti-business attitude, a myriad of rules and regulations, racialist politicians plus corruption on the part of unions, criminal enterprises and some in government had the city on the ropes. Giuliani changed all that. What Giuliani accomplished makes him one of the great men of our time. He simply did not accept the conventional liberal wisdom and he brought New York back to life. The other side fought him every inch of the way calling him every name in the book. One man with energy and courage can indeed make a difference. This is an excellent book about a great man. I have waited years for someone to write it and am not surprised that the man was Fred Siegel. At least one Democrat recognized what had happened to New York. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "Liberalism faltered when it turned out it could not cope with truth."
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steve Iaco on June 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the first post-9/11 biography of Rudy G. It provides a good retrospective on the Giuliani Era in New York. In a generally favorable examination, noted historian Fred Siegel shows the outsized impact that Rudy had on Gotham's politics and public policy. Not just the well chronicled successes -- the historic, national-pace-setting drop in crime, and his inspired leadership during and after 9/11. But also less frequently recalled achievements like the restoration of basic academic standards at CUNY, fiscal prudence (without resort to tax increases) during a pronounced regional recession, welfare reform, etc. The missteps are also covered in detail, including the tragic Diallo shooting, ill-considered 1999 City Charter reform plan, and the very public dissolution of Rudy's marriage.

Siegel has effusive praise for Rudy's prescience in anticipating, and preparing the City for, another terrorist attack after the first WTC bombing. Giuliani saw a link between the 1990 Meir Kahane assassination and the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and knew the terrorist threat was real and on-going. His crisis management plans, while no panacea, paid dividends in the City's response to 9/11.

On the political front, Giuliani's endorsement sealed the election for Bloomberg in 2001. But a more telling measure of his influence that election year was the extent to which a longtime foe and career Naderite like Mark Green adopted much of Rudy's agenda. Giuliani bequeathed to Bloomberg a City whose economy was deeply wounded by 9/11 and the post-bubble recession on Wall Street, but that was in fundamentally better shape than Giuliani himself inherited in 1994.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Stern on June 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Siegel's book on Giuliani's New York is the first essential book on the mayor. Siegel offers a compact history of Gotham over the last half century, focused especially on the Dinkins administration, under which crime surged, jobs vanished, and the private sector middle class fled. From there, he looks at how the city's fortunes revived under the Machiavellian stewardship of Giuliani, painting a warts-and-all portrait of the man who revived New York. Siegel's is the first account to look at Giuliani's pre-September 11th concern with and preparations for acts of terror, and to show how those allowed him to rise to the occasion when the city needed him most. In showing how Giuliani served as mayor, he also offers a glimpse of what a Giuliani presidency might look like.

Siegel's last book, The Future Once Happened Here, was an equally essential chronicle of the decline of New York, D.C., and L.A. over the past forty years, and this happier sequel of sorts is both welcome news and a must-read for New Yorkers, historians, urbanists, and, not least of all, lovers of well-told and compelling tales.
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