Ed Koch, infamous mayor of New York City, former People’s Court judge and man of the people, is a fascinating character, the kind who wouldn’t even pa Ed Koch, infamous mayor of New York City, former People’s Court judge and man of the people, is a fascinating character, the kind who wouldn’t even pause to think about whether or not it is wise to call a rival “crazy,” and then go ahead and do it. Koch is your typical New Yorker: loud, brash, and passionate, with more chutzpah than you can shake your middle finger at. As mayor, Koch brought all of that and more to the table and, as the title of Jonathan Soffer’s new biography on “hizzoner” says, rebuilt New York City.
After too many years of mismanagement and decades of racial and economic disharmony, New York City in the 1970’s was a shambles. Successive mayors failed to save New York, and the infamous city that never sleeps was on a fast track to a nightmare. Enter Koch, a lawyer from Greenwich Village who enters politics, takes on Tammany Hall, becomes a Congressman, and then mayor of the Big Apple. Who but a crazy person would want the job, especially after the city rioted after the infamous blackout of 1977, which saw large swaths of impoverished neighborhoods looted and burned to the ground?
Koch was a polarizing figure during the course of his mayoralty, and Soffer’s text deftly traces Koch’s humble beginnings in the Bronx to his towering rise atop the world’s most fabulous city. We are taken on a journey that examines Koch’s personal life, his political aspirations, and the difficulties inherent in running a troubling city.
Soffer is obviously a Koch fan, however, when needed, he is rightly critical of the mayor. His actions towards the myriad minority communities of the City, particularly blacks, are expertly handled throughout the course of the book, and Soffer expertly details the fall of Koch’s reign when his final term in office becomes rife with scandal and chaos.
Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City is a well-written look at an oft polarizing figure and a must-read for anyone who is a student or passionate about the history and personalities of New York City. ...more
Wonderfully told, with Jaffee drawings illustrating key moments in his life. Would have loved to have had more samples of Jaffee's work, especially MAWonderfully told, with Jaffee drawings illustrating key moments in his life. Would have loved to have had more samples of Jaffee's work, especially MAD stuff....more
At times I wondered if the authors disliked, really disliked, Van Gogh or wanted to stab him with a pallet knife. Very thorough biography, and I thinkAt times I wondered if the authors disliked, really disliked, Van Gogh or wanted to stab him with a pallet knife. Very thorough biography, and I think a lot more honest and accurate than previously written biographies. I don't, however, necessarily agree with their murder theory....more