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Twice-jailed scoundrel and the people’s champion, builder of hospitals and schools and shameless grafter, compelling orator and master of political farce, James Michael Curley was the stuff of legend long before his life became fiction in Edwin O’Connor’s classic novel The Last Hurrah . As mayor of Boston, as congressman, as governor of Massachusetts, Curley rose from the Irish slums in a career extending from the Progressive Era of Teddy Roosevelt to the ascendancy of JFK. Beatty’s spellbinding story of this remarkable man,and of his city, his people, and his times,is biography at its best.