“A truly brilliant biography.”–John Kenneth Galbraith, Chicago Tribune
Twice jailed while serving in office yet a champion of the people, builder of schools yet a shameless grafter, James Michael Curley was the stuff of legend long before his life became fiction in Edwin O’Connor’s classic novel The Last Hurrah. As mayor of Boston, as a United States congressman, as governor of Massachusetts, Curley rose from the slums of South Boston in a career extending from the Progressive Era of Teddy Roosevelt to the ascendancy of the Kennedy sons. While Curley lived, he represented both the triumph of Irish Americans and the birth of divisive politics of ethnic and racial polarization; when he died, over one million mourners turned out to pay their respects in the largest wake Boston had ever seen.
Nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography, Beatty’s spellbinding story of “the Kingfish of Massachusetts” is also an epic of his city, its immigrant people, and its turbulent times. It is simply biography at its best.
“Beatty’s book is a delight–rich, witty, flowing, and full of insight about the nature of political corruption.”–Constance Casey, Los Angeles Times
“A panoramic, exquisitely incisive biography that illuminates the triumphs, debacles, and personal sorrows of the irrepressible man known as Boston’s ‘Mayor of the Poor.'”–Robert Wilson, USA Today