by Alice Sparberg Alexiou

Bella! (There’s Only One)

Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom bring us Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied Against War and for the Planet, and Shook Up Politics Along the Way (Farrar Straus & Giroux, $25). The book delivers all that its ambitious subtitle promises, and in less than 300 pages. The authors, journalists who knew Abzug personally, pull this off by weaving together an “oral history” (as they call it), mostly long quotes culled from interviews they conducted with Abzug’s family, friends, and colleagues. Their own voices are all but missing, except in the brief chronologies of Abzug’s political activities they place at the beginning of each chapter.

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