Prophet of Love: And Other Tales of Power and Deceit

Prophet of Love: And Other Tales of Power and Deceit

by Elizabeth Kolbert
     
 

New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert dissects the body politic in these incisive-and often hilarious-portraits of the people who make New York City run.

As a reporter for The New York Times and then the The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert has had unparalleled access to the inner workings of the country's most complex and fascinating city. In the

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Overview

New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert dissects the body politic in these incisive-and often hilarious-portraits of the people who make New York City run.

As a reporter for The New York Times and then the The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert has had unparalleled access to the inner workings of the country's most complex and fascinating city. In the acclaimed profiles assembled here, Kolbert talks to politicians and policemen, bureaucrats and radicals, celebrities and demagogues. She follows some on their heady ascent to greatness and others as they fall from grace, all the while questioning how power is attained, and then, just as often, squandered.

Kolbert writes about such classic New York characters as Boss Tweed, Michael Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, and Rudolph Giuliani. She reveals the machinations of city power in a provocative piece about the Amadou Diallo shooting and takes an unforgettably disgusting look at the work of city restaurant inspectors. And she investigates the influence of several private citizens, including Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin, the always controversial Al Sharpton, and Regis Philbin at the height of his fame.

Written during a defining period in the city's history-one that encompasses the Bloomberg mayoral campaign, the Clinton-Giuliani senatorial race, and September 11th-The Prophet of Love is a witty and eye-opening debut from one of our most fiercely intelligent writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
New Yorker staff writer Kolbert's collection of graceful and perceptive articles focusing on New York public figures reminds us how much has changed since the late 1990s. Part one, titled "Politics," includes a piece on Hillary Clinton, "Running on Empathy," reflecting the animosity that many felt for the carpetbagging former First Lady when she entered the New York State senate race. Kolbert atones later in "The Student," about Clinton as a hardworking senator. Kolbert is at her best in the timeless articles she penned in the aftermath of 9/11 about Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Fire Chief William Feehan, who died as a result of the attacks. In her introduction, Kolbert notes that "political life is often indistinguishable from nonsense," and proves it in her illuminating account of Mark Green's losing mayoral campaign (about his primary win, she writes, "Between the fawning and the gloating, the self-promotion and the perfunctory humility, victory celebrations are rarely tasteful affairs"). In part two, "Impolitics," she trains her considerable intelligence and wit on such New York notables as TV host Regis Philbin, former Times executive editor Howell Raines and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Anyone interested in power and personalities in present-day New York will be well pleased. Agent, Kathy Robbins. (May 14) FYI: All but one of these articles first appeared in the New Yorker. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Observant, quicksilver explorations of the Big Apple's political landscape. Thank heavens that Kolbert broke free from the constraints of the New York Times, where she toiled for 14 years, and took up with the New Yorker, which allows for a more narrative approach to political analysis and appreciates the illuminating power of good prose. In this collection of relatively short pieces ranging from a half-dozen to a few dozen pages, Kolbert demonstrates that she knows from Adam how the New York political process works. For starters, she has read and understands the US Constitution, which is a real plus-and a rare one-for a political reporter. She also knows what the Ways and Means Committee does as compared to Budget or Appropriations, and how these committees bear upon the city's future. Kolbert draws shrewd, meaty, colorful portraits of New York politicos, but she can also tuck them into a nutshell: charisma-free New York City Mayor Bloomberg, shamelessly parochial Congressman Charles Rangel, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (who "generally gives the impression of having just returned from a funeral"), or public-speaking-challenged New York Governor George Pataki ("After delivering the hoariest of platitudes, he will pause for emphasis and look up for approval, seemingly genuinely pleased with himself"). She is equally good on corruption, from no-show employees to Boss Tweed's rule ("the brazenness of the self-dealing is almost unimaginable today, Enron notwithstanding"); on the sheer contrariness of the ACLU ("it takes a certain asceticism, not to mention an abstracted sense of self, to work for the American Civil Liberties Union and get a kick out of it"), and even on curios far from thepolitical sphere, such as Regis Philbin, who has "made a career of anatomizing human frailty without ever drawing blood."Choice political journalism. Agent: Kathy Robbins/The Robbins Office

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582344638
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/14/2004
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.66(h) x 1.14(d)

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