The Luckiest Guy in the World: My Journey in Politics

The Luckiest Guy in the World: My Journey in Politics


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The Remarkable True Story of Robert Abrams, the man who changed the New York Attorney General's Office for Good.

At the heart of this political memoir is the story of how the office of state attorney general, an historically sleepy backwater post, has evolved into a front line major protector of the rights of citizens across the country. New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams exercised leadership in organizing attorneys general throughout the nation to take collective action against the Reagan administration’s punishing laissez-faire anti-regulatory policies. Abrams and his fellow attorneys general set the precedent for the successful challenges mounted by today’s attorneys general against the Trump administration’s immigration policies and rollback of consumer and civil rights protections.  
Through lively anecdotes, Abrams captures the Bronx of his childhood, his early insurgent grassroots campaigns taking on the powerful Democratic Party machine, the urban challenges of being Bronx Borough President, the turbulent Vietnam anti-war years, and the beginnings of the environmental justice movement. He revisits the explosive Tawana Brawley case where an African American teenage girl alleged rape and brutality by a group of white men that included law enforcement officials.  
Abrams provides behind-the-scenes interactions with important figures ranging from Golda Meir, George McGovern, Mario Cuomo, Robert Moses, and Cesar Chavez to Shirley Chisholm. The book demonstrates how ordinary people battling unequal odds against corporate and other powerful forces can prevail when laws are enforced to protect their rights. A chapter about the infamous Love Canal case details the shocking revelation that buried beneath the seemingly placid upstate New York working class community lay tons of toxic waste spawning chronic health problems for residents. Abrams in a landmark lawsuit took on Occidental Petroleum for its callous actions, paved the way for the passage of the Superfund Act and a victory for the emerging environmental justice movement. He describes dramatic confrontations with the radical anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue, and its increasingly violent efforts to deny a woman’s right to choose. His courageous, path-breaking support of LGBT rights, seeking to end the prevailing bigotry with legal victories that ultimately led to marriage equality is also revisited.
In The Luckiest Guy in the World, Robert Abrams wears his progressive values on his sleeve, providing an optimistic view about our nation’s return to its fundamental values. Visit for more information.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510758780
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 03/16/2021
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 155,830
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Robert Abrams, born and raised in the Bronx, went on to become a crusading attorney general of New York from 1979 to 1993. As a reformer, he battled political machine bosses and special interests, winning landmark victories for consumers, protecting the environment, and a woman’s right to choose. He led attorneys general across the nation to protect the rights of all Americans. 

Table of Contents

Foreword New York State Attorney General Letitia James xvii

Introduction: The Yankees Are Leaving the Bronx xxi

Part 1 Early Days & Entering Public Office

l The Shtetl 3

2 Beyond the Neighborhood 11

3 Entering Politics 19

4 Regulars vs. Reformers 23

5 The Assembly 29

6 Borough-Wide 35

7 The Bronx Pressure Cooker 43

8 Being Borough President 51

9 Defending the Bronx 57

10 Mississippi 65

11 Gay Rights 69

12 The McGovern Campaign 75

13 Blind Date 81

Part 2 Attorney General

14 What's Next? 91

15 Fresh Air 101

16 Evolution of the Attorney General's Office 111

17 Love Canal 117

18 The Pymm Thermometer Case 131

19 Antitrust 135

20 Reproductive Freedom 145

21 The Road to Marriage Equality 155

22 Safeguarding the Rights of New Yorkers 163

23 The Tawana Brawley Investigation 169

24 Museum of the American Indian 189

25 Rare Hebrew Books 195

26 Mario Cuomo 201

27 The 1992 Senate Race 209

Part 3 Life After Attorney General

28 At a Crossroad 217

29 Private Life 221

30 Assorted Career Anecdotes 229

31 Israel and Soviet Jewry 237

32 The Operation 247

Afterword 251

Acknowledgments 257

Index 261

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