GENTLEMAN JIMMY WALKER by George Walsh

GENTLEMAN JIMMY WALKER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Nixon and Walker? -- strange bedfellows! Gentleman Jimmy, twice mayor of New York, who dressed like a peacock and spent more time at banquets, speechmaking and quipping than at City Hall, was forced to resign during his second term. Aside from an attempt at ""resignation with honor,"" there's not much similarity between songwriting Walker and our former president, but this bio seems conceived in the spirit of Watergate. Hizzoner Walker was the very spirit of the boisterous high life of Prohibition, was beloved by New Yorkers, and even in his worst moments -- during the disastrous Seabury Committee investigation of his huge income -- he was welcomed hysterically at every public appearance. Walsh spends half of his biography sketching the times (Lindbergh, Governor Roosevelt, headline criminals, etc.), digging into Tammany Hall, portraying good and bad cops, shysters, famous gamblers and associates who went down with the mayor. Walker's long romance with entertainer Betty Compton, his many trips to Europe (with several dozen suits, shoes, hats and numberless shirts) are highlights. Not as stylish as Gene Fowler's Beau James (1949), this is lively stuff, the last third certain to have the reader think he's still in The Presidential Transcripts.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Praeger