- Hardcover: 703 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (July 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 067141741X
- ISBN-13: 978-0671417413
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Thomas E. Dewey and His Times Hardcover – July, 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
In 1933 Dewey, only 31, became a federal and then special prosecutor in New York City and sent several gangsters to prison. In 1937 he was elected District Attorney for Manhattan, and he soon achieved national fame as the "gangbuster" - the honest lawyer who sent dozens of famous mafia leaders to jail. His most famous target was "Lucky" Luciano, the mafia boss of all New York and who was even more powerful than Al Capone.Read more ›
Dewey was a capable enough performer that in 1924 he was booked for a solo performance in the cultural heart of America. In the audience was the noted music critic Deems Taylor. Taylor commented upon what he perceived as Dewey's contrived emotional stage effects, but this flaw was dwarfed by a more essential one: suffering from laryngitis, Dewey's voice totally shut down halfway through the program. A thoroughly mortified Dewey was forced to take stock of his career, and as a second choice he decided to pursue a law degree. Columbia University of the 1920's enjoyed a plethora of great legal minds, and even the frustrated singer came to develop a passion for law and the potential theatrics of the courtroom.
Dewey's rapid ascent through the law profession was abetted by two factors: his labors on behalf of New York City's struggling Republican party, and the patronage of George Z. Medalie, who would become Dewey's legal and political rabbi. Medalie, a major character in this treatment, enjoyed a thriving private law practice, but he was drafted for one of the city's frequent, and usually unsuccessful, forays against organized crime, which literally held New York in a stranglehold in the 1920's and 1930's.Read more ›
This is a terrific biography (it was as a finalist for the 1983 Pulitzer Prize) about a sadly all-too-forgotten great American. As a New Yorker by birth and being old enough, some of the achievements of Thomas E. Dewey are familiar to me. Realistically, though, I would imagine that Dewey is largely unknown and of no consequence to most Americans today. In spite of, or perhaps because of these realities, Richard Norton Smith does a great job conveying the unique and exceptional man that Dewey was. It is amazing to read about his meteoric rise as a prosecuting attorney who was able to bring down the New York City mob and Tammany Hall leadership. Consider that when he was just 38 years old, he held the lead in the first three ballots at the 1940 Republican National Convention.
While his unsuccessful runs for President receive due attention, Smith avoids overshadowing Dewey's great achievements for our nation. His three terms as governor of New York (1943-1954) are covered quite fully and point to his characteristic of a man of great conviction. He is clearly a socially progressive and fiscally conservative Republican as his administrations in New York demonstrate quite fully. Faced with a conservative Republican state legislature, he forced through a fair redistricting law, a strong anti-discrimination civil rights law, established the State University of New York, and succeeded in bringing about the construction of the New York State Thruway.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very well written.
The author of this book
Is indeed a gifted storyteller. Very enjoyable.
Fascinating stories of the inner workings of politics. Read more
This was an excellent biography of an important 20th century figure. Some authors deliver dates and events so dryly it is the equivalent of eating sawdust. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Paul D.
This book is not only a thorough and fair exploration of the life and times of New York Governor Thomas E. Read morePublished on August 26, 2014 by Garry Boulard
This was a very old book, but saw the author on PBS discussing history and he talked about his book. Wow, great history and I learn so much more about this great man!Published on January 6, 2014 by Fred R. Benford
This is a good book on an overlooked man. Smith does an apt job of illuminating Dewey from his earliest days in the Midwest to his death (in perfect fashion) in a hotel room. Read morePublished on June 7, 2012 by J. Smallridge