THE LAST HURRAH by Edwin O'Connor


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While this has none of the vitriolic bite of Dos Passos' Number One, there is inevitably a comparison to be made, as Edwin O'Connor writes the story of an Irish politician, mayor of a city (perhaps modelled on Boston?) for the major part of his half century in politics. He writes it almost in allegory form, it seems at the beginning, for the major figures have allegorical implications. But as the driving magnetism of Frank Skeffington, the mayor who is known to his cohorts as ""the Governor"", is demonstrated in his imaginative, sympathetic paternalism, one character after another comes alive. There's a cynical undercurrent, but Skeffington himself suggests it, never fooling himself even as he fools the people. He ends more hero than rascal, as the reader gets to know him on his rounds of a final political campaign of the old school- and with the nephew, to whom he had been a symbol, a legend, finds the essential human being under the skin. The story of the campaign is told against the backdrop of the city and its teeming Irish, with the Italians beginning to spearhead their advance in various factions. Skeffington loves his city and its people, accepts its contradictions, its absurdities, its crudities, its venality. The Church comes in for a measure of censure. The press gets its punishment. The boss rule is seen in its declining days- and it is that that goes down to defeat. Atlantic Prize Novel.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1955
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.