Mahler, Jonathan 1969-
MAHLER, Jonathan 1969-
PERSONAL: Born 1969.
ADDRESSES: Home—Brooklyn, NY. Office—The Forward, 45 E. 33rd St., New York, NY 10016.
CAREER: Journalist and editor. Former senior editor at Talk; former editorial page editor at ForWard.
(With Maximillian Potter) The Lexus Story, introduction by Denny Clements, Lexus (Torrance, CA)/Melcher Media (New York, NY), 2003.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to Washington Post, New York, New Republic, Talk Lingua Franca, and Wall Street Journal. Contributing writer for New York Times Magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: In The Lexus Story, journalist and editor Jonathan Mahler tells the tale of the Lexus car company in a full-color publication. In addition to discussing the company's history, he reviews its advertising campaigns, and describes engineering and building processes and other aspects of the company's business. The author also details the company's experience in having to recall its LS400 model and how it dealt with the resulting crisis.
Mahler turns from cars to the many crises faced by the city of New York in the late 1970s in his book Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City. At this point in history, New York was facing an incredibly high crime rate and heightened racial strife. To further complicate the long, hot summer of 1977, the New York blackout occurred, leaving most of the city without electricity and causing general pandemonium. In addition, the serial killer known as the Son of Sam was on the loose. Mahler writes about these and other events within the context of two major storylines. The first has to do with the New York Yankees baseball team and its high-ego players, manager, and owner. The ongoing battles within the club included a tense relationship between then manager Billy Martin and outspoken club owner George Steinbrenner. The second conflict within the team was between the Yankees' new star, Reggie Jackson, who promised to be the city's first black baseball superstar, and the rest of the team's elite players.
The second storyline in Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning involves the New York City mayoral race, with Bella Abzug, Mario Cuomo, Ed Koch, and incumbent Abraham Beame all vying for the office. The eventual winner of the race, which was Koch, faced numerous problems. Besides the high crime rate, there was the looming debt to banks run up by prior mayors and handled badly by incumbent Mayor Beame. The author delves into the mayoral race as he describes the city's economic woes, which included losing 570,000 jobs in the private sector. Mahler also discusses other stories, such as Australian businessman Rupert Murdoch's purchase of the New York Post and his changing it from a respected news publication to a paper essentially geared toward sensationalism.
"By using the Yankees as a central metaphor for the city's fortunes, Mahler is able to draw a nuanced portrait of this wild year," wrote Jon Meacham in a review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning in the New York Times. Fred Siegel noted on Commentary online that the author "has vividly recaptured those [summer] months in an enjoyable, fast-paced account that, Hollywood-like, cuts back and forth among the different elements of the city's ongoing soap opera." In a review for Sports Illustrated online a contributor commented that the book is "roughly half-baseball and half-civic history, both elements treated with nuance and depth." A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that Mahler's reflections on this time-period in New York's history is "all done with the knowing acumen and street smarts of an old-fashioned beat reporter."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Boston Herald, April 17, 2005, John Thorn, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City.
Entertainment Weekly, April 15, 2005, Steve Wulf, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning, p. 88.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning, p. 104.
Library Journal, December 1, 2004, Barbara Hoffert, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning, p. 92.
New York Times, April 24, 2005, Jon Meacham, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning.
Publishers Weekly, January 31, 2005, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning, p. 55.
Village Voice, April 19, 2005, Benjamin Strong, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning.
AllInfoAbout.com, http://bookreviews.allinfoabout.com/ (June 17, 2005), Bill Bickel, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning.
Commentary Online, http://www.commentarymagazine.com/ (July 13, 2005), Fred Siegel, review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning.
Sports Illustrated Online, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/ (May 2, 2005), review of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning.