Books and Movies Reviews

The Last Hurrah

The Last Hurrah is a narrative within a narrative about Frank Skeffington, an old Irish-American political boss. He begins his fifth and most likely last campaign for mayor of a New England city. It shows the good and evil inherent in politics and all the things that go into an election. A "man of the people," Skeffington attends funerals, hands out money, and kisses babies.
Skeffington invites his journalist nephew, Adam Caulfield, to "see the campaign up close." Skeffington narrates the Skeffington family history to Caufield. Caufield narrates Skeffington's political history. Caufield is a columnist for a long-standing anti-Skeffington newspaper. Caufield married into an anti-Skeffington family.
Skeffington is a fighter from the cradle, with lots of enemies, yet as he approaches the end of his political career and his life, he finally comes to peace with the world. Skeffington's Irish immigrant mother worked as a maid for the wealthy Boston Force family who fired her for stealing food.
Skeffington is a champion of the poor and downtrodden, especially if they happen to be Irish. He is not above coercion if it will bring comfort to his constituents. Caufield accompanies Skeffington to a wake and observes the dual nature of the politician by shamelessly working the crowd for support and later pressuring the greedy undertaker into reducing the exorbitant funeral costs.
Skeffington's enemies nominate a handsome, oafish young Irishman to run against him. The mayor's team seems confident they can defeat him easily, but Skeffington is not so sure.
Skeffington's battles uphill to stay in office against political machinery that preys on ethnic hatred and old-time money. His real work is getting the cooperation of the old establishment who keep him as an outsider by any means that they can. His policies bring him hostility from the city's WASP faction and the clergy

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