Tagged a ``lower case Frank Roosevelt'' and a ``sawed off Mussolini,'' La Guardia left a larger mark upon the New York mayoralty than anyone before or since. Eight biographies attest to that, alongside a half-dozen books of lesser scope, not to mention an autobiography, children's books, and a musical. Kessner has topped them all with a biography covering La Guardia's entire life (unlike most of the other books), skillfully enhancing the existing record with interviews, archival work, and a reading of the contemporary press. While reporting failure in fiscal policy, organized crime, and other areas, Kessner is mainly an admirer of the man who ``forged a modern unified city.'' In a year when La Guardia's most colorful successor has again faced the voters (and lost in the primary), this is highly recommended for all types of libraries.-- Robert F. Nardini, N. Chichester, N.H.
La Guardia, who served as mayor of New York City from 1934 to 1947, breathed new life into a city plagued by high unemployment, festering slums and government scandals. Based on private papers, newly released FBI documents and official papers from the City of New York, this biography chronicles the making of the modern metropolis through the life of one of its most complex immigrant sons. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)