Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Prince of the City

I got this audiobook from the library and listened to it off and on for about a week. It's an interesting description of Rudy Giuliani's tenure as mayor of New York from a conservative perspective. I have never heard of the author, Fred Siegel, but I know he's conservative based on his frequent expressions of conservatism throughout the book. Siegel gives Giuliani credit for the remarkable turnaround in New York over the 1990s, and he's probably right to give him some of that credit. Better policing helped turn the city around, and Giuliani helped to create that police policy. Giuliani isn't depicted as perfect in the biography -- the author faults Giuliani for the way he handled his personal struggles in his second term, as well as letting small-time feuds get in the way of governance. But he constantly asserts that Giuliani was responsible for the turnaround in the city. The book helps buttress the image of Giuliani as a "strong leader," one of the key aspects Americans look for in a President, according to many polls. It convinced me that the Giuliani years in New York weren't all roses, but that Giuliani got many things right about city government. He bucked the system and won on many fronts, and his calm in the crisis of September 11 made him a national hero. Whether that makes him a leader I can get behind is still up for debate for me.
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