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Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of America's Mayor by Andrew Kirtzman Book Review

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What the hell happened to Rudy Giuliani? How did the man whose bravery and resilience reassured his country during the 9/11 attacks become a geyser of roaring, cheeky nonsense?

Andrew Kurtzman tries to answer that question in Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of an American Mayor. Kirtzman is well suited for this task. As a New York-based reporter covering Giuliani for years, trying to rally a devastated country, he was with the mayor of 9/11.

Giuliani’s image as a national hero was cemented that day, but the former mayor, prosecutor and presidential candidate has spent years scraping the pedestal on which he stands. Kurtzman’s biography attempts to explain how he defended his country nobly during its darkest hours and spent his later years in destruction.

That this is Kurtzman’s second biography is a measure of how much Giuliani’s place in history has changed. The author argues that it wasn’t so much that Giuliani changed, as age, alcohol, and a thirst for attention gradually triggered the worst impulses that dominated his life. , “from his mission to exterminate the mob to his determination to wipe out New York City drove his greatest crusade…but the almost fanaticism that propelled his rise. A sense of justice also portended a catastrophic fall.”

Even in 2022, it can be hard to remember Giuliani’s amazing early career. It was in 1994 when I became mayor of a city that many considered not only dangerous and dirty, but also out of control and fundamentally unruly.

Giuliani ruled New York with an obsessive, combative, and vindictive spirit. Crime plummeted, corporate profits soared, and The Times his square’s three-card Monte dealers were replaced by Disney characters.

As mayor, he found an ally in real estate developer Trump, but their relationship went far beyond zoning regulations and fundraisers. In a way, the two of them hit it off, people whose careers were fueled and shaped by New York’s unique tabloid news culture. Rudy and Donald thrived on personal feuds and peccadillo-dominated public discourse.

After 9/11, respect and admiration for Giuliani grew so much that people often spontaneously applauded him when they saw him in public. That public love has led to immense wealth and political clout, and Kurtzman details the years Giuliani made a profit with his global business brand.

In 2007, “America’s Mayor” attempted to trade a fictitious title for a real one by running for president. Starting with the highest profile and donor pool in the Republican Party, Giuliani burned both in record time, finishing the race in an Orlando hotel ballroom and amassing a total of one convention delegate.

Giuliani spent the post-election period in deep funk and drank too much when he heard ex-wife Judith Nathan say it. I cut a hole in it and used the complex’s tunnels to keep it out of public view.

At times, the book seems more concerned with Giuliani’s troubled marriage than his estranged relationship with reality, but it is also described by some of Giuliani’s former advisers as “an ex-wife forced him to do so.” I feel like the excuse of “I was too good” is too convenient. My relationship with Trump has deepened.

“What is clear is that, like many marriages of convenience, their friendship survived after their ties with Trump ended 100 times,” Kurtzman wrote. “Giuliani never turned his back on Trump. It was a big loss for him.”

After his failed presidential run, Giuliani’s legal and consulting career faltered, and his increasingly harsh political commentaries alienated legal partners. During the 2016 campaign, Giuliani rediscovered his public voice as a pro-Trump attack dog and went on Fox News to accuse Hillary Clinton of all sorts of crimes and illnesses.

It was a testament to Giuliani’s collective memory as a crisis hero that the nonsensical accusations he made that year had little effect on his reputation. appears to believe Giuliani’s claim that he had a source within the FBI in 2016 who told him about the Clinton investigation. When federal investigators questioned Giuliani about it in 2018 — an interview where lying could lead to criminal charges — he admitted he had no inside information.

In that interview, Giuliani admitted to what should have long been obvious to the outside world: the belief that false accusations are an accepted part of politics, based on little or no evidence. Based on that, he made a wild allegation.

“You can throw fakes,” he told his agent.

With Trump’s 2016 victory, Giuliani inspired the most important person on earth: the President of the United States. The same spaghetti-on-the-wall strategy that Giuliani deployed against Clinton was aimed at building a case of corruption out of Ukraine, where Joe Biden’s son Hunter had business interests, and the Biden family generals. I was aiming for direction. Rather than get his client Trump re-elected, Giuliani helped impeach him.

Yet people believed.

In Tampa, 38-year-old crane operator Paul Hodgkins watched a televised press conference in late 2020 claiming Giuliani had stolen the election from Trump. As Giuliani spoke, what appeared to be black hair dye oozed down the side of his face. was

By then, Giuliani had been openly chasing fairies and goblins for four years. But Hodgkins still believed in American mayors, so he went to Washington on January 6, 2021, participated in a pro-Trump riot, and was sent to prison.

Kurtzman’s Giuliani is a tragic figure whose lack of fear has ruined him as he grew older. Giuliani is now 78 years old. The President is 79, the Speaker of the House is 82, and Trump is 76. As the country’s leaders age, the House of Representatives may need more railings.

What happened to Rudy Giuliani? The more pressing issue raised by Kurtzman’s book is that it took us a very long time to see what happened.

Devlin Barrett wrote in The Washington Post about the FBI and the Justice Department, “October Surprise: How the FBI Tried to Save Itself and Failed the ElectionHe was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2018 for its coverage of Russian interference in US elections.

The Rise and Fall of American Mayors

Simon & Schuster. $30 per 458 people