The Last Hurrah

By Edwin O'Connor,

Book cover of The Last Hurrah

Book description

"We're living in a sensitive age, Cuke, and I'm not altogether sure you're fully attuned to it." So says Irish-American politician Frank Skeffington-a cynical, corrupt 1950s mayor, and also an old-school gentleman who looks after the constituents of his New England city and enjoys their unwavering loyalty in return. But…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Last Hurrah as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

O’Connor’s expose on old-time politics was an inspiration for my first novel.

Set in the mid-1950s, O’Connor describes the transition from machine politics to the modern political system that dominates American politics today. For a true glimpse and understanding of the political world, I recommend starting with The Last Hurrah.

James Curley, former Boston mayor, Massachusetts governor, and jailbird – not in that order – was as grand a politico as Huey Long or LBJ, and O’Connor’s novel based on his career holds its own with the classic romans à clef on those two. Frank Skeffington was also a self-made populist, but O’Connor’s book centers on big-city politics and ethnic tensions, which were more immediate to me – I grew up in New York City. Skeffington, a charmer, considered himself innately decent, an honorable man forced to play a dirty game, which made one of my father’s maxims echo: Beware…

From Charles' list on political bosses.

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