ALL GOOD MEN by Thomas J. Fleming
Kirkus Star


Email this review


A superior first novel about the fantastic machinations of city politics and-more importantly- the complex relationship between father and son, this is very much akin to The Last Hurrah, especially in its skillful character development and emphasis upon the personal emotions and motivations of these characters. There are three months until election time, and Dave Shea's Democratic ""machine"" has been in power for about 30 years. Ben O'Connor, a self-made man and leader of the 13th Ward as well as County Commissioner, has grown up with his ward and loves his miserable constituents as they respect him. Having devoted his life to politics, his marriage has deteriorated, he has writhed at the thought of his eldest son having entered the priesthood, and his fondest wish is that his favorite, younger son Jake might inherit his interest and position. Jake is six months out of law school, sensitive and troubled by his silent antagonism towards his father and politics, posing in desperation as indifferent to everything but his attraction for Dolores Talbot, a witty and intelligent beauty whose mother is fanatically attached to the idea of having Dolores marry white Protestant money and prestige as quickly as possible. When gangrene invades Ben's foot, Jake promises to fill in for his father, on a temporary basis, and does the job well though not without distaste and amazement at much of what he learns about the world of politics. The real movement and growth takes place within the O'Connor family and, primarily, within Jake himself. Mr. Fleming's novel is wonderfully rich in idiomatic and vibrant dialogue, and this promises to be a very good-if not best-seller.

Publisher: Doubleday