Email this review


Unaffected- and unaffecting, these reminiscences of Al Smith by his daughter lack the weight and worth of biography, the intimacy of close personal experience, and the literary ability which might rescue a man of some greatness from the oblivion now closing over him. All that survives of tribute is Al Smith's enactments, as Governor, to improve the lot of children and the working people in New York, and to improve the State system serving them. Perhaps there is also a glimpse of his dogged integrity, his fighting spirit, as he turns furiously on Hearst, upholds the basic democracy of his religion against those who label it partisan and prejudicial to American interests, and swings from support of Roosevelt to defiance toward his administration to finally resolve his rancor in dedication to the war effort. But the man himself, the inner context and motive, slips away. Statements about his simplicity have a hollow ring. Simplicity is not emptiness- and Al Smith, whatever his limitations, was not the victim of vacuity. Though interlarded with anecdote, snatched conversation, and the commentary of the Governor's associates, nowhere has the man himself been surprised, nowhere do we hear a phrase, catch a gesture which is, indisputably, Al Smith.

Publisher: Doubleday