I Never Did Like Politics
How Fiorello La Guardia Became America's Mayor, and Why He Still Matters
by Terry Golway
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Pub Date 20 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 05 Mar 2024
"In our current dismal passage of American politics, it’s exhilarating to read about a politician who exemplified all the qualities—courage, honesty, vision, energy, disdain for hypocrisy, concern for the downtrodden—that we were taught to revere....Remarkable." —Wall Street Journal
Fiorello LaGuardia was one of the twentieth century’s most colorful politicians—on the New York and national stage. He was also quintessentially American: the son of Italian immigrants, who rose in society through sheer will and chutzpah. Almost one hundred years later, America is once again grappling with issues that would have been familiar to the Little Flower, as he was affectionately known. It’s time to bring back LaGuardia, argues historian and journalist Terry Golway, to remind us all what an effective municipal officer (as he preferred to call himself) can achieve...
Golway examines LaGuardia’s extraordinary career through four essential qualities: As a patriot, a dissenter, a leader, and a statesman. He needed them all when he stood against the nativism, religious and racial bigotry, and reactionary economic policies of the 1920s, and again when he faced the realities of Depression-era New York and the rise of fascism at home and abroad in the 1930s. Just before World War II, the Roosevelt administration formally apologized to the Nazis when LaGuardia referred to Hitler as a “brown-shirted fanatic.”
There was nobody quite like Fiorello LaGuardia. In this immensely readable book, as entertaining as the man himself, Terry Golway captures the enduring appeal of one of America’s greatest leaders.