O Albany!: Improbable City of Political Wizards, Fearless Ethnics, Spectacular, Aristocrats, Splendid Nobodies, and Underrated Scoundrels (Paperback)

O Albany!: Improbable City of Political Wizards, Fearless Ethnics, Spectacular, Aristocrats, Splendid Nobodies, and Underrated Scoundrels By William Kennedy Cover Image
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ironweed offers an eloquent history of his colorful hometown in this marvelous book that's part journalism and part memoir.

William Kennedy's celebrated cycle of novels has put Albany on the literary map. In O Albany! we visit the city's ethnic and social neighborhoods. We meet uncommon characters who tread on Kennedy's stage—Erastus Corning, America's longest-running mayor (forty-three years in office); the Prohibition celebrity Jack "Legs" Diamond; the black matriarch Olivia Rorie, who transformed Albany's slums; Nelson Rockefeller and the "greatest marble project in the history of the world"; the political boss Dan O'Connell, who took City Hall in 1921 and never let go, even after he died.

Embellished with fifty-five vintage photographs and eleven maps drawn for this book, O Albany! is a historical lover letter from Kennedy to his native city.

“A nice blend of nostalgia and serious history...You come away from this book's fascinating view of the American experience, the human experience, feeling hopeful.”—The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

William Kennedy, author, screenwriter and playwright, was born and raised in Albany, New York. Kennedy brought his native city to literary life in many of his works. The Albany cycle, includes Legs, Billy Phelan's Greatest Game, and the Pulitzer Prize winning Ironweed.The versatile Kennedy wrote the screenplay for Ironweed, the play Grand View, and cowrote the screenplay for the The Cotton Club with Francis Ford Coppola. Kennedy also wrote the nonfiction O Albany! and Riding the Yellow Trolley Car. Some of the other works he is known for include Roscoe and Very Old Bones.

Kennedy is the founding director of the New York State Writers Institute and, in 1993, was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has received numerous literary awards, including the Literary Lions Award from the New York Public Library, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Governor’s Arts Award. Kennedy was also named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in France and a member of the board of directors of the New York State Council for the Humanities.

Praise For…

Praise for William Kennedy
“Kennedy's justly acclaimed Albany Cycle [is] one of the imperishable products of American literature since the Second World War. These books can be read singly or in sequence, but read they must be. Kennedy is one of our necessary writers.”—GQ

“Kennedy's novels have the rough feel of stories told, not of chapters written and artfully polished. His beguiling yarns are the kind of family myths embellished and retold across a kitchen table late at night, whiskified, raunchy, darkly funny, tangles of old resentments and fresh exasperations.”—TIME

“Kennedy's prose is swift and glib, intent upon creating sparks and surprises, and fully open to life's magical touches, its haunts and ghostly discoveries.”—Chicago Sun-Times
“Kennedy is a writer with something to say, about matters that touch us all, and he does it with uncommon artistry.”—The Washington Post

“William Kennedy writes so melodiously about the Irish ruffians of old Albany, NY he could make Philip Roth wish he were Catholic.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Kennedy has maintained a high level of achievement throughout [his Albany Cycle], deftly blending comedy and drama as, over the years, he has painted a portrait of a single city perhaps unique in American fiction.”—The Washington Post
“Kennedy has made Albany his, as Dickens made London and Proust Paris and Chandler Los Angeles....One of the finest living American novelists.”—Thomas Flanagan
Product Details
ISBN: 9780140074161
ISBN-10: 0140074163
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: September 3rd, 1985
Pages: 432
Language: English