Giuliani was hailed after 9/11 as "America's Mayor," a singular figure who at the time was more widely admired than the pope. He was brilliant, accomplished—and complicated. He conflated politics with morality and caused his own downfall with a series of disastrous decisions and cynical compromises. Kirtzman conducted hundreds of interviews to write this insightful portrait of this polarizing figure, from the beginning of his rise to his ruinous role as Donald Trump's personal lawyer. By the end of the Trump presidency, he was reviled and ridiculed after a series of embarrassing errors. He was a major figure in both of Trump's impeachments, and ended up widely ostracized, in legal jeopardy, and facing financial ruin. This is the story of how it all began and how it came crashing down.
The book is masterful and engrossing. It is girded by more than 40 pages of endnotes. The author and David Holley, his researcher, have performed yeoman work. They capture what made the man tick and what led to his fall from grace. Kirtzman’s critique is leavened with bittersweet impressions and references to Giuliani’s accomplishments.
Giuliani: The rise and tragic fall of America’s mayor, inscribes its thesis in its subtitle. The notion is that Giuliani was once truly glorious, and that his subsequent association with Trump...constitutes a betrayal of the legacy he set down as the leader of New York during one of its greatest crises ... Kirtzman...is committed to the idea that his subject was once genuinely heroic ... But another story can be gleaned from this thoroughly reported and generally well-told book ... Bonded to his subject since the early 1990s, Andrew Kirtzman views Giuliani as something like a special uncle, so the former mayor’s putative descent strikes the biographer as tragic. Having loathed Giuliani since I moved to New York in 2000, especially after he became Mr 9/11, I can only see his late work as comic.