CRAZY RHYTHM by Leonard Garment


My Journey from Brooklyn, Jazz, and Wall Street to Nixon's White House, Watergate, and Beyond . . .
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 The exuberant, worldly-wise autobiography of a Washington/Wall Street insider who thrived despite the hard blows life has dealt him on more than one occasion. A product of Brooklyn, Garment (who turned 72 in May) does not recall his comfortable childhood with any particular fondness. Indeed, he left home early to pursue a career as a clarinet/saxophone player in jazz bands. Released from the WW II army for medical reasons within weeks of induction, Garment turned his back on music and earned a law degree; his academic record was good enough to land him a coveted job with the Waspy Manhattan firm of Mudge, Stern, Williams, and Tucker. A partner by the time Richard Nixon joined the fold in 1963, the self-styled ``ethnic icebreaker'' soon became a close friend of the former vice president's. An important member of the team that helped put him in the White House, Garment became an all-purpose troubleshooter for Nixon. The tough-talking administration's informal envoy to both US Jewry and Israel, Garment (who characterizes his ex-boss as operationally progressive but rhetorically retrogressive on social issues) also worked on civil-rights programs. Garment was untainted by Watergate, on which he comments with perception and compassion. He eventually returned to New York City. With time out to serve as Daniel Patrick Moynihan's special assistant for human rights during his stint as US ambassador to the UN, he resumed the practice of law. While personal tragedies (including the suicide of his first wife) took a toll, the resilient Garment bounced back. Happily remarried, with a new young daughter to raise, the globe-trotting attorney is again ensconced in Washington with a world-class clientele. The engaging, often ingratiating, recollections of a free- spirited agent and advocate who has learned a lot from his varied experiences close to the seats of power. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8129-2887-3
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1997