The Local Nine List: Political Books
9. David Herbert Donald’s Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War
A Pulitzer-winning history of our great abolitionist senator, nearly beaten to death in Congress by a southern colleague.
8. David McCullough’s John Adams
Who knew a president from Quincy could be so compelling? And the wife….
7. Doris Kearns Goodwin’s The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys
The city’s Irish Ascendency, told through the lives — and eyes — of its royalty.
6. Tip O’Neill’s All Politics Is Local: And Other Rules of the Game
This is the pol’s sharp-witted (though slightly disingenuous) defense of retail politics.
5. William Bulger’s While the Music Lasts: My Life in Politics
Though his career hasn’t been as colorful (or homicidal) as brother Whitey’s, Billy’s book is still an excellent read.
4. Edward Kennedy’s True Compass
The Lion’s memoir of a life robustly — and sometimes raggedly — lived is surprisingly modest, honest, and kind.
3. David Hackett Fischer’s Paul Revere’s Ride
Shows what a Hub businessman turned politician can achieve — and without flip-flopping. Mitt Romney, take heed!
2. Edwin O’Connor’s The Last Hurrah and Jack Beatty’s The Rascal King
Scoundrel-mayor James Michael Curley is brilliantly portrayed in both O’Connor’s fiction and Beatty’s nonfiction.
1. John Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity”
Our first governor’s dream of what we could become. Combine this essay with his Journal, 1630–1649; together they form Boston’s Yankee urtext.