Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Dear Great Book Guru,
This year I have decided to be very brave and host at the Sea Cliff Civic Association's annual Progressive Dinner. I'm not afraid of the meal- I have a reputation as a good cook- but I am afraid of awkward silences at the dinner table with six strangers waiting for me to move the conversation along. Can you think of a book I could bring up that would get everyone talking? Fledgling Host
How generous you are to open your home to six mystery guests and what fun you will have! My husband and I have been hosting the Progressive Dinner for many years and we always enjoy the evening tremendously. And, yes, I think I have just the book for you. We (joys of a family Kindle account) just finished THE HELLHOUND OF WALL STREET by Michael Perino, who teaches at St. John's University Law School; guaranteed there will be a graduate of St. John's at your dinner. The hellhound is Ferdinand Pecora, a Sicilian immigrant , a former New York City assistant district attorney, and yes, a summer resident of the lovely village of Sea Cliff. The story opens on a cold March day in 1933- the inauguration day of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The country was at its lowest point- unemployment was over 25%, thirty-eight states had closed their banks, malnourished children and adults filled the streets, and tents were all about, the only homes many of these people knew. Pecora as special counsel to the Congressional banking committee just days before had revealed the causes of the Great Crash of 1929. The scandals he unearthed and the reforms he was able to put in place were to change everything. The author does a masterful job describing the power for good that this one man wielded. Much to talk about, much to think about!