Grondahl, Paul 1959-
GRONDAHL, Paul 1959-
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Times Union, News Plaza, Box 15000, Albany, NY 12212.
CAREER: Worked in New York State senate; Times Union, Albany, NY, reporter.
AWARDS, HONORS: Mental Health Media Award, Mental Health Association, New York State, 2003, for series "The New Asylums: Mental Illness behind Bars."
Mayor Erastus Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma, Washington Park Press (Albany, NY), 1997.
(With Mary Ann LoGiudice) That Place Called Home: A Very Special Love Story, Charis, Servant Publications (Ann Arbor, MI), 2000.
I Rose like a Rocket: The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt, Free Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times Book Review and Newsday
SIDELIGHTS: Paul Grondahl is an award-winning journalist whose series "The New Asylums: Mental Illness behind Bars," published in the Albany Times Union, was honored with the Mental Health Media Award by the New York State Mental Health Association. In announcing the award, President and C.E.O. Joseph A. Glazer said that Grondahl's articles "have helped change how the public and policymakers look at the overlap between criminal justice and mental health," according to the Mental Health Association in New York State Web site.
Grondahl's first book, Mayor Erastus Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma, is a biography of the man who set a record for tenure in American political history, having been elected mayor of Albany eleven times to serve forty-two years. The author reports that Corning was a charming, philandering, brilliant man who led the powerful, all-inclusive Democratic Party that was formed in 1921, and which was comprised of members of both the working class and the wealthy. Grondahl conducted more than two hundred interviews and searched archival sources in writing the story of Corning, for whom New York State named its tallest building north of New York City. The author also documents Corning's family background, his years at Yale University, his political ties, war service, interactions with Rockefeller, Dewey, and the media, his retreat to Maine, and his ultimate decline and death.
Grondahl's next book, That Place Called Home: A Very Special Love Story, grew out of story he was researching about a home for pregnant teens. Sister Mary Ann LoGiudice, who ran the program, asked Grondahl not to include the fact that she had an adopted eight-year-old daughter who was HIV positive, because the child's health status was not public knowledge. He agreed, but several years later, when the girl died of AIDS, LoGiudice asked Grondahl to help her tell her story. A Publishers Weekly contributor called That Place Called Home a "heart-breaking first-person account of the transforming love of a child."
Another Publishers Weekly contributor commented that in I Rose like a Rocket: The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt Grondahl "does an outstanding job of documenting Theodore Roosevelt's evolution from brash young political reformer to shrewd and pragmatic political operator." The volume covers Roosevelt's life from his birth to his presidency after the assassination of William McKinley, and concentrates on Roosevelt's "political education," including his years as a twenty-something assemblyman in the state legislator, beginning in 1882. It was then that he first learned how to deal with the powerful figures within the party, including John McManus, Boss Tweed, Roscoe Conkling, and Richard Croker.
Roosevelt served as civil service commissioner in Washington during the late 1880s and early 1990s. He became police commissioner of New York City from 1895 to 1897, assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, commander of the Rough Riders, governor of New York, vice president, and finally president. Library Journal critic William D. Pederson wrote that Grondahl "makes a significant contribution to the Roosevelt literature" and added that his "writing is so engaging that readers won't want to put the book down."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2004, George Cohen, review of I Rose like a Rocket: The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt, p. 1539.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2004, review of I Rose Like a Rocket, p. 310.
Library Journal, May 1, 2004, William D. Pederson, review of I Rose Like a Rocket, p. 125.
Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2000, review of That Place Called Home: A Very Special Love Story, p. 78; March 15, 2004, review of I Rose like a Rocket, p. 61.
Mental Health Association in New York State Web site,http://www.mhanys.org/ (September 15, 2003).*