I Never Did Like Politics: How Fiorello La Guardia Became America's Mayor, and Why He Still Matters (Hardcover)

I Never Did Like Politics: How Fiorello La Guardia Became America's Mayor, and Why He Still Matters By Terry Golway Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
On hand as of Jun 25 9:21am


"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.

About the Author

Terry Golway was a senior editor at POLITICO and the author of several works of history, including Frank and Al and Machine Made. He has been a columnist and city editor at the New York Observer, a member of the editorial board of the New York Times, and a columnist for the Irish Echo. He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Rutgers University and has taught at the New School, New York University, and the College of Staten Island.

Praise For…

"Great book...On your required reading list."
Errol Louis, Inside City Hall, NY1

“Golway’s lively and insightful narrative does much to illuminate La Guardia’s enduring impact on New York City and the relevance of his grand and inclusive social vision a century later... [it] provides tremendous insight into his striking partnership with FDR, and his fruitful if often perilous alliance with New York City master builder and power broker Robert Moses."
New York Journal of Books

"[Golway] evokes his subject so vividly and makes the case for his greatness so effectively that the book never feels like puffery."
Wall Street Journal

"A suitably admiring biography of an admirable politician."
Kirkus Reviews

"Gripping...The book's organization around the admirable qualities that distinguished La Guardia’s character and leadership works brilliantly, making this a first-rate biography of a unique and transfixing figure."

"La Guardia is still considered the greatest of American mayors, over 75 years after his death. Why is that? Terry Golway, one of our best and most readable political historians, provides the answers, in this lively, eye-opening look. For anyone interested in just what a democratic leader can be, this is an invaluable book."
—Kevin Baker, author of The Fall of a Great American City

"La Guardia came to power at a time of great division and tumult... It was, as Terry Golway argues in his well-researched and beautifully conceived portrayal, a “time not unlike our own.” This is why Golway’s reexamination of La Guardia is not only so well timed, but important, because in his portrait of a man most modern readers know primarily as the namesake of an airport, we see the rise of a genuine populist, someone who saw public service not as a means to an end, but an elysian calling and one who dedicated his boundless energy to serving the disadvantaged."
—Dr. Jeanne Sheehan Zaino, Iona College, Bloomberg TV politics contributor

“Brilliantly entertaining .. a spot-on timely portrayal of the original ‘America’s Mayor’ who proved the government could deliver even amid the worst of depressions and wars. Full of hope, I Never Did Like Politics makes us yearn for such leadership and integrity.”
—Derek Leebaert, author of Unlikely Heroes

“La Guardia was the quintessential New Yorker: brash, street smart and pugnacious. He was also a Mayor of ultimate integrity who set the gold standard for public service. In I Never Did Like Politics Terry Golway captures the essence of the man, his times and his love for New York and its people!”
Peter King, Former US Representative, New York

"Enormously entertaining...Golway curates dozens of stories and anecdotes from one of the 20th century's most-colorful political leaders to remind us of what leadership and integrity look like."
—Dan Goldberg, Politico and author of The Golden Thirteen

"A delightful man-behind-the-myth account of the iconic 'Little Flower'—as unlikely and as successful a mayor as New York City has ever elected."
—Harold Holzer, Director, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute

"Golway presents La Guardia as a model for today."
Publishers Weekly

"Golway looks at La Guardia's career through his four essential qualities, as a patriot, a dissenter, a leader, and a statesman. These were the qualities that drove him to battle the nativism, religious, and racial bigotry, as well as the reactionary economic policies of the 1920s."
Brooklyn Digest

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250285782
ISBN-10: 125028578X
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English