Frank and Al (Hardcover)

FDR, Al Smith, and the Unlikely Alliance That Created the Modern Democratic Party

By Terry Golway

St. Martin's Press, 9781250089649, 336pp.

Publication Date: September 11, 2018

List Price: 29.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

"This is history told the old-fashioned way. The book is only as long as it needs to be, the adroit narrative full of heroes (Smith, Roosevelt, big-city Democratic bosses) and villains (William Randolph Hearst, William Jennings Bryan, the Ku Klux Klan). The scenes are vivid and the anecdotes plentiful." —The Wall Street Journal

"Frank & Al is the latest of Mr. Golway’s several captivating books on New York politics. He delivers once again, with a timely narrative on the centennial of Smith’s first election as governor." —The New York Times

"The tangled, tragic story of Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt is one of the great tales of American politics, and Terry Golway has told it beautifully. This is a joyous book... an especially important book now." —Joe Klein

"I highly recommend this fascinating and enlightening book." —Franklin D. Roosevelt, III

"Beautifully written...The book is must reading for anyone interested in the history of American politics and the rise of the country’s welfare state." —Robert Dallek, author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

“A marvelous portrait... Highly recommend!” —Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America

The inspiring story of an unlikely political partnership—between a to-the-manor-born Protestant and a Lower East Side Catholic—that transformed the Democratic Party and led to the New Deal

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Democratic Party was bitterly split between its urban machines—representing Catholics and Jews, ironworkers and seamstresses, from the tenements of the northeast and Midwest—and its populists and patricians, rooted in the soil and the Scriptures, enforcers of cultural, political, and religious norms. The chasm between the two factions seemed unbridgeable. But just before the Roaring Twenties, Al Smith, a proud son of the Tammany Hall political machine, and Franklin Roosevelt, a country squire, formed an unlikely alliance that transformed the Democratic Party. Smith and FDR dominated politics in the most-powerful state in the union for a quarter-century, and in 1932 they ran against each other for the Democratic presidential nomination, setting off one of the great feuds in American history.

The relationship between Smith and Roosevelt, portrayed in Terry Golway's Frank and Al, is one of the most dramatic untold stories of early 20th Century American politics. It was Roosevelt who said once that everything he sought to do in the New Deal had been done in New York under Al Smith when he was governor in the 1920s. It was Smith who persuaded a reluctant Roosevelt to run for governor in 1928, setting the stage for FDR’s dramatic comeback after contracting polio in 1921. They took their party, and American politics, out of the 19th Century and created a place in civic life for the New America of the 20th Century.



About the Author

TERRY GOLWAY is a senior editor at POLITICO and the author of several works of history, including Frank and Aland Machine Made. He has been a columnist and city editor at the New York Observer, a member of the editorial board of the New York Times, and a columnist for the Irish Echo. He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History from Rutgers University and has taught at the New School, New York University, and Kean University.


Praise For Frank and Al: FDR, Al Smith, and the Unlikely Alliance That Created the Modern Democratic Party

"Frank & Al is the latest of Mr. Golway’s several captivating books on New York politics. He delivers once again, with a timely narrative on the centennial of Smith’s first election as governor." —The New York Times

"Elegant...Golway, who has been studying these two men for decades, somehow finds a way to offer a new glimpse at both." —America Magazine

"By weaving [Smith and Roosevelt's] lives together in an engaging narrative, [Golway] tells the story of a long-ago period that laid the groundwork for some of our current political battles...Those wanting to understanding how we arrived at the current political moment will learn a lot." —The Claremont Review of Books

"Golway paints portrait of two great leaders in Frank & Al...[A] compellingly reported, beautifully written history." —The Star-Ledger

"A story worth telling in this trying time, when politicians within and without their respective parties need to reach across the aisle to create a better America like these men (and women) did." —Irish America

"This is history told the old-fashioned way. The book is only as long as it needs to be, the adroit narrative full of heroes (Smith, Roosevelt, big-city Democratic bosses) and villains (William Randolph Hearst, William Jennings Bryan, the Ku Klux Klan). The scenes are vivid and the anecdotes plentiful." —The Wall Street Journal

"The tangled, tragic story of Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt is one of the great tales of American politics, and Terry Golway has told it beautifully. This is a joyous book, a celebration of the roots of the modern Democratic Party. Golway loves both Frank and Al, and he brings both to life with passion and knowledge. Frank and Al is an especially important book now, given the unwelcome return to our national life of the same “all-American” bigots who opposed Smith." —Joe Klein, Democracy Journal

"A fine account of FDR’s rise to power combined with a cradle-to-grave biography of the man who made it possible." —Kirkus Reviews

"Golway's clear, at times humorous prose will entice all readers interested in this political rivalry. The author's diligent research will impress historical practitioners." —Library Journal

"Frank and Al is an engaging account of the personal and political relationship between Al Smith and FDR. I highly recommend this fascinating and enlightening book." —Franklin D. Roosevelt III

"Terry Golway’s beautifully written book not only traces the careers of two of America’s most significant twentieth-century politicians but also reminds us of how the Democratic party became the powerhouse it was for so many years in mid century. The book is must reading for anyone interested in the history of American politics and the rise of the country’s welfare state." —Robert Dallek, author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963

“Terry Golway’s Frank and Al is a marvelous portrait of two combative Democratic leaders from New York—FDR and Al Smith—and the New America they forged on behalf of the forgotten men and women of the 1920s and 1930s, and beyond. Anybody interested in U.S. political history needs to read this essential history. Highly recommend!” —Douglas Brinkley, professor of History at Rice University and author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America

"Terry Golway’s book is a moving and beautifully written history that is also essential reading for anyone trying to understand the politics of Trump-era America. Through the fragile alliance of FDR and Al Smith, a patrician and an ethnic urban machine pol, we see the creation of the modern Democratic Party and its potential to enact transformational social and economic change. And through its ultimate unraveling, we see the resentments and class tensions that Democrats have struggled to manage ever since." — Steve Kornacki, host of MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki