Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning by Jonathan Mahler
1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City

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Synopsis

"Masterful . . . In Mahler's expert hands, the city's outsized citizens are flawed, fierce,


bickersome, and as indomitable as the metropolis itself." --Mike Sokolove, author of The Ticket Out



A passionate and dramatic account of a year in the life of a city, when baseball and crime reigned supreme, and when several remarkable figures emerged to steer New York clear of one of its most harrowing periods.



By early 1977, the metropolis was in the grip of hysteria caused by a murderer dubbed "Son of Sam." And on a sweltering night in July, a citywide power outage touched off an orgy of looting and arson that led to the largest mass arrest in New York's history. As the turbulent year wore on, the city became absorbed in two epic battles: the fight between Yankee slugger Reggie Jackson and team manager Billy Martin, and the battle between Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo for the city's mayoralty. Buried beneath these parallel conflicts--one for the soul of baseball, the other for the soul of the city--was the subtext of race. The brash and confident Jackson took every black myth and threw it back in white America's face. Meanwhile, Koch and Cuomo ran bitterly negative campaigns that played upon urbanites' fears of soaring crime and falling municipal budgets.



These braided stories tell the history of a year that saw the opening of Studio 54, the evolution of punk rock, and the dawning of modern SoHo. As the pragmatist Koch defeated the visionary Cuomo and as Reggie Jackson finally rescued a team racked with dissension,1977 became a year of survival but also of hope.



 

About Jonathan Mahler

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Jonathan Mahler is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and has published journalism in The Washington Post, New York, The New Republic, Talk Lingua Franca, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Brooklyn.
 
Published March 21, 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 377 pages
Genres: History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning

Kirkus Reviews

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The result recalls the ambient atmosphere of the ethnic neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens, the natural argot of the precinct houses and of the locker rooms of New York just a few years ago.

Jan 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bro...

The New York Times

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A ghoulish new cheerleader promoted this vision of the city in screaming headlines: The New York Post under its new owner, Rupert Murdoch.

Mar 30 2005 | Read Full Review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bro...

The New York Times

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Jonathan Mahler presents a year in the life of the city at a time when New York was roiled by internal woes but gave the world outsize personalities.

Apr 24 2005 | Read Full Review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bro...

Entertainment Weekly

Credit Jonathan Mahler for re-creating New York City's annus horribilis/mirabilis, 1977, in an expansion of his New York Times Magazine cover stories on that year's long, hot summer called Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning.

Apr 11 2005 | Read Full Review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bro...

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