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Empire Statesman: The Rise and Redemption of Al Smith Hardcover – March 15, 2001
The Amazon Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
Slayton painstakingly examines the complex relationships between Smith and many of the players in his political spectrum, especially FDR. How this contrasts with the simple but deep relationships he had with friends and family is astounding. One of Professor Slayton's main theses--that Smith embodied the best qualities of turn-of-the century immigrant New York--is smoothly argued. For New York, Smith was the right man at the right time. But then Slayton switches gears, with convincing authority, that Smith was the wrong man at wrong time for 1928 America. It is a devestating irony, and grippingly described.
I found the final sections about Smith's reconciliation with FDR and America extremely moving. The entire "Finale" section, including the deaths and funerals of Smith's wife, Katie, and then Smith himself, had me choking back the tears. Finally, there is Professor Slayton's reminder of the legacy that Al Smith left behind, both for New York City and the nation. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Author of The Five Points
The book is occasionally "cheerleady" - superlatives come landing out of left field in the midst of other, more traditional descriptions of events. It is, however, critical and frank in other areas of Smiths career, so it reads in a balanced fashion overall. It is a great read and one that should be read by anyone interested in the US political landscape and how it got to what it is today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you have any business to be reading about Al Smith and you have to start somewhere, this is as good as it gets. Mr. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Matt Bryant
Good biography of a man who was ahead of his times. If he would have waited till 1932 he could have been the Catholic FDR. His many reforms in government are still with us today.Published 21 months ago by Chris Neville
Typically losers of Presidential elections are not remembered. Al Smith paved the way for JFK. He persevered day after day despite being consistently told that a Catholic would... Read morePublished on October 18, 2013 by Billy J. Mondy
In his short 1958 study of Al Smith, Oscar Handlin noted that "[t]he written word did not come as easily to Al Smith as the spoken word. Read morePublished on April 1, 2006 by MarkK
The election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency occurred when I was in the seventh grade of my local parochial school. Read morePublished on April 9, 2005 by Thomas J. Burns
there is a largely-forgotten statue of al smith on the lower east side at the corner of monroe & catherine streets, but i like to think of the empire state building as the true... Read morePublished on August 30, 2002 by G. Kramer
A great story, about an individual who personifies everything great about America. Alfred E. Smith was the son of immigrants, whose parents ended up in Manhattan's Lower East... Read morePublished on March 24, 2002 by Eric V. Moye
This book deserves five stars, tho I had some quarrels with it. There is a lot of original research, but I thought its reliance on a book like The 103rd Ballot, which itself... Read morePublished on February 5, 2002 by Schmerguls
Robert Slayton has written a great political biography about a truly great,but sadly forgotten, Statesman,Al Smith. Read morePublished on July 21, 2001