From the heyday of Tammany Hall - to the election of David Dinkins, To Be Mayor of New York is an engrossing and thoroughly researched narrative that captures New York City politics in all its complexity and points out the ways ethnic competition affects the selection of New York's mayor. Beginning with a colorful account of late nineteenth century Tammany Hall - New York's Democratic Party organization - McNickle assesses the response of the Irish-dominated political machine to the arrival of Jewish and Italian immigrants and later to blacks and Puerto Ricans. He shows how, in a pattern unique to New York, the participation of large numbers of Jewish workers in a variety of splinter parties - Socialist, American Labor, and Liberal - affected the city's ethnic coalitions in the years leading up to Fiorello LaGuardia's three terms as mayor, and beyond. Focusing next on the election campaigns since 1945, McNickle traces a shift in political predominance from the Irish to the Jews, and then to African-Americans, as New York's politicians adapted their coalitions to the city's changing ethnic and racial composition. To Be Mayor of New York captures the excitement of Mayor Robert Wagner's political combat with Tammany boss Carmine DeSapio in 1961, and the promise of John V. Lindsay's election in 1965, followed by disillusionment with his administration. It traces the rise of Abe Beame and Edward I. Koch, the city's only Jewish mayors, and of David Dinkins, New York's first African-American mayor. McNickle shows how the careers of these men were part of the political evolution of their respective ethnic groups. To Be Mayor of New York concludes with an analysis of the 1989 mayoral election,and takes a hard look at the political landscape facing David Dinkins and his challengers in 1993.
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