Frank & Al by Terry Golway tells the reader about the relationship between two New York political power houses: Al Smith and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Smith acted as a mentor to the younger Roosevelt when he started out in politics and through the years the two would be there for each. Even when the two men disagreed and during Roosevelt’s first term as president Smith would sometimes come out swinging against the New Deal.
Before reading this book I knew little about Smith other than he was a popular New York governor and the first Catholic to run for President. I know much more about Roosevelt having read several biographies about him.
The laws that Al Smith helped pass in his many years in the New York legislature and later pushed through as governor to improve the lives of the lower glasses got championed by Roosevelt as President; and used to help form New Deal programs that helped lift the spirits and put to work millions of people across the country.
Reading Frank & Al not only did I get an education on who Smith was and what he did but I got a peek into a unique political relationship.
It’s a rare thing these days to read about two politicians who found ways to mend fences not just once but more than once. Both men had good reasons not to do so yet mend fences and by doing so reshaped the nation for generations to come.