A no-holds-barred biography of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Andrew Cuomo is the protagonist of an ongoing political saga that reads like a novel. In many ways, his rise, fall, and rise again is an iconic story: a young American politician of vaunting ambition, aiming for nothing less than the presidency. Building on his father's political success, a first run for governor in 2002 led to a stinging defeat, and a painful, public divorce from Kerry Kennedy, scion of another political dynasty, Cuomo had to come back from seeming political death and reinvent himself.
He did so, brilliantly, by becoming New York's attorney general, and compiling a record that focused on public corruption. In winning the governorship in 2010, he promised to clean up America's most corrupt legislature. He is blunt and combative, the antithesis of the glad-handing, blow-dried senator or governor who tries to please one and all. He's also proven he can make his legislature work, alternately charming and arm-twisting his colleagues with a talent for political strategy reminiscent of President Lyndon Johnson. Political pundits tend to agree that for Cuomo, a run for the White House is not a question of whether, but when.
About the Author
Michael Shnayerson is a long-time contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the author of eight books on a range of non-fiction subjects, from biographies of entertainer Harry Belafonte (My Song) and New York governor Andrew Cuomo (The Contender) to narrative-driven accounts of drug-resistant bacteria (The Killer Within) and mountaintop coal removal (Coal River). Shnayerson is married to Gayfryd Steinberg, and lives in Sag Harbor and Manhattan.
"In the first few pages of The Contender, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is portrayed as a "brilliant tactician" and a presidential hopeful, even if not in 2016. But the tone of the unauthorized biography quickly changes...the book explores Mr. Cuomo's complicated relationship with his father, Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, as well as his early days managing his father's campaigns, and then running his office in Albany after his father became governor..."—The New York Times
"[A] deeply researched account...While Shnayerson doesn't deny the governor his considerable talents and accomplishments - from his efforts as a young man tackling homelessness to his key role in the 2011 passage of same-sex marriage - the story is shadowed by what the author portrays as an often ruthless drive for advancement, and a mania for control."—Albany Times-Union
"Gov. Andrew Cuomo is known for going to great lengths to control his image and the information released about him. Interviews with people familiar with the governor's deliberations and others who worked on the three projects shed light on a literary chess game that played out over three years."—The Wall Street Journal
"Shnayerson is able to add color to the existing body of Cuomo portraiture...about how the governor (and governor's son) got to be the political figure he is today. Cuomo, in Shnayerson's telling, was the young campaign operative who shimmied up telephone poles in Queens in the dead of night to take down his father Mario's opponent's campaign posters, and would do just about anything if it meant winning."—Capitol New York
"A graceful writer with a gift for memorable descriptions...a dogged, resourceful reporter...with THE CONTENDER, Shnayerson provides a helpful [...] reminder that some of the best and most consequential political stories occur far away from the glare of Washington."—The New York Times Book Review