How Fiorello La Guardia Became America’s Mayor, and Why He Still Matters


Fiorello La Guardia BookFiorello LaGuardia was one of the twentieth century’s most colorful politicians ― on the New York and national stage. He was also quintessentially American: the son of Italian immigrants, who rose in society through sheer will and chutzpah.

Almost one hundred years later, America is once again grappling with issues that would have been familiar to the Little Flower, as he was affectionately known.

On the latest episode of The Historians Podcast former Albany Politico bureau chief Terry Golway, author of I Never Did Like Politics: How Fiorello La Guardia Became America’s Mayor, and Why He Still Matters (St. Martin’s Press, 2024).

Golway examines LaGuardia’s extraordinary career through four essential qualities: As a patriot, a dissenter, a leader, and a statesman.

He needed them all when he stood against the nativism, religious and racial bigotry, and reactionary economic policies of the 1920s, and again when he faced the realities of Depression-era New York and the rise of fascism at home and abroad in the 1930s.

Just before World War II, the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration formally apologized to the Nazis when LaGuardia referred to Hitler as a “brown-shirted fanatic.”

You can listen to the podcast here.

The Historians Podcast has been online weekly since 2014 produced by Bob Cudmore and Dave Greene. You will find many of their over 500 podcasts archived at

For more New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.

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