The Prince: Andrew Cuomo, Coronavirus, and the Fall of New York

Ross Barkan. OR, $20 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-68219-410-2
In this excoriating takedown, journalist Barkin (Demolition Night) argues that praising New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic is akin to commending Nero for fiddling while Rome burned. Barkan critiques the media for boosting Cuomo’s image, but reserves his harshest judgments for the governor himself, an “arrogant, vengeful, and megalomaniacal” leader who fostered a political culture that “favored dominance over competence.” The controversy over Cuomo’s March 2020 directive ordering nursing homes to accept Covid-19 patients is examined, as are the revelations that his administration “severely undercounted” nursing home deaths and pushed to grant legal immunity to hospitals and nursing homes. But the most eye-opening sections delve into the ways in which Cuomo’s budget cuts and reluctance to raise taxes weakened New York’s ability to contain the pandemic. The recent sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, which occurred in the “media vacuum” left by the end of the Trump presidency, might be what finally brings him down, according to Barkan. Enriched by the author’s deep knowledge of New York politics and sharp parsing of facts (he notes, for instance, that denser cities around the world had significantly lower death tolls than New York City), this exposé delivers a knockout punch. Agent: Susan Golomb, Writers House. (June)
Reviewed on : 06/17/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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