Harry Leonnoff is the Fixer of the title of this interesting first novel by motivational author Ed Brodow: he is patterned on the author's grandfather and provides a character around whom we are invited to revisit the turn of the century New York landscape and sociopolitical shenanigans. Brodow covers the era from 1883 to 1961, weaving fascinating stories about WW I, the plight of the Jews during WW II and in the USA, the rise of the Irish political giants of Tammany Hall, the colorful Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, the Depression, the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, and the plague of polio that blighted the life of the hero - and even possibly provided the first of the hurdles such as overcoming evil with good that ruled Harry Leonnoff's life.
By separating his book into time framed chapters, Brodow gives us an excellent history course, told in the manner of a novel with extraordinarily interesting characters that are well drawn. Little known facts about the period are shared through the mouths of the three-dimensional characters and the impact that the changes that molded the 20th century are carried right into the present. The novel is never less than fascinating reading.
The area for growth in the writing of 'novels' versus his successful motivational books lies in the language. Brodow writes terse sentences and dialog and for the reportage aspect of this homage to his grandfather this style is suitable. What is missing is the lyricism that would take the novel to the range of great writing. Brodow frequently falls back on current slang expressions that disrupt the flavor of the period: 'Let's get this show on the road', 'scared the daylights out of the Democratic incumbent', 'don't suppose for a cotton-picking minute', 'someone had stayed up awfully late putting together a case against Harry' - all acceptable terms but ones that simply don't fit the era and jar the reader's concentration. This is a minor flaw and one that probably comes from his very contemporary style in writing motivations books that relate directly to the fast reader. Constructive criticism is always given with respect for the work at hand.
Ed Brodow hopefully will continue writing novels: he is a born storyteller. Kudos to the Outskirts Press, Inc. for the design and layout choices of presenting this book. They add a tasty flavor. This book is a very fine read, one that will keep the reader glued to the page through an airplane ride! It is a solid contribution to studies of American history. Grady Harp, January 08
I just happened to obtain this book via reviewer copy (thank you Mr. Brodow) and started reading and the next thing I knew I finished it in one sitting, letting the phone ring unanswered several times! It is the story of Harry Leonnoff described as a more modern Robin Hood. As Robin Hood was the antithesis of a "Capitalist" I do not think that moniker fits. Harry is a person that had a rough upbringing, having Polio at an early age that crippled one leg. His father never gave him any pity … more
'Fixer' by Ed Brodow is a great book that details the history of Harry Leonnoff. A politician who has to overcome Polio, anti-Semitism and the mayor of New York City Firoello La Guardia during the time of Depression, becoming the admired Robin Hood of NYC. The writing is fascinating and very entertaining. The book never gets boring and it really grabs you and takes you back to the time that this all occurred. Great story, great writing, and perfect for … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
If the system won't solve your problem, Harry Leonnoff will fix it for you.
Power broker Harry Leonnoff takes on Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in this thrilling novel of New York City politics. From the degrading slums of the Lower East Side to the bloody battle of Belleau Wood, Fixer is the spellbinding tale of a fearless politician with a limp and a thirty-eight who becomes the champion of New York's underclass. Uneducated son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Leonnoff confronts gangsters and bigots, saves nine innocent black men from the electric chair, and becomes the admired Robin Hood of Depression-Era New York. But a vindictive Mayor Fiorello La Guardia forces Harry to make an impossible choice between his career and his integrity. Ed Brodow introduces us to one of the most compelling antiheroes in contemporary American fiction.
"Breathtaking! A powerful story and a real page-turner. Harry Leonnoff is an unforgettable character."