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Book cover of And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress

And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress

by Charles B. Rangel, Leon Wynter

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 330
Paperback
ISBN: 9780312382131






Available to Buy

Overview of And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress

In this inspiring and often humorous memoir, the outspoken Democratic congressman from Harlem—now the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee—tells about his early years on Lenox Avenue, being awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in a horrific Korean War battle (the last bad day of his life, he says), and his many years in Congress.

A charming, natural storyteller, Rangel recalls growing up in Harlem, where from the age of nine he always had at least one job, including selling the legendary Adam Clayton Powell's newspaper; his group of streetwise sophisticates who called themselves Les Garçons; and his time in law school—a decision made as much to win his grandfather's approval as to establish a career. He recounts as well his life in New York politics during the 1960s and the grueling civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

With New York street smarts, Rangel is a tough liberal and an independent thinker, but also a collegial legislator respected by Democrats and Republicans alike who knows and honors the House's traditions. First elected to Congress in 1970, Rangel served on the House Judiciary Committee during the hearings on the articles of impeachment of President Nixon, helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, and led the fight in Congress to pressure U.S. corporations to divest from apartheid South Africa.

Best of all, this is a political memoir with heart, the story of a life filled with friends, humor, and accomplishments. Charles Rangel is one of a kind, and this is the story of how he became the celebrated person and politician he is today.

He opens his memoir with a preface about the 2006 elections and an outline of his goals as chairman of Ways and Means. From day one he wants to put the public first so that more Americans can say they haven't had a bad day since.

Synopsis of And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress

In this inspiring and often humorous memoir, Charles Rangel, the outspoken Democratic congressman from Harlem--now the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee--tells about his early years on Lenox Avenue, being awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in a horrific Korean War battle (the last bad day of his life, he says), and his many years in Congress.

A charming, natural storyteller, Rangel recalls growing up in Harlem, where from the age of nine he always had at least one job, including selling the legendary Adam Clayton Powell's newspaper; his group of streetwise sophisticates who called themselves Les Garçons; and his time in law school--his decison to attend was made as much to win his grandfather's approval as to establish a career. He recounts as well his life in New York politics during the 1960s and yhe grueling civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

The New York Times - Eric Alterman

Charlie Rangel's memoir…is mercifully short on laundry lists, but long on sass and spirit…And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since brims with brio…Rangel's racially based, clubhouse style of politics may not appeal to everyone—including this reviewer. (A resident of his district, I left my ballot for congressman blank in the last election.) But as a politician/raconteur with a hell of a tale to tell, he sure has my vote.

About the Author, Charles B. Rangel

Charles B. Rangel is an 18-term Democratic congressman representing New York's "Fightin' 15th" District (incl. Harlem and the Upper West Side). He is the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Rangel is the principal author of the $5 billion Federal Empowerment Zone demonstration project to revitalize urban neighborhoods across the U.S., and in the 1980s anti-apartheid movement he led the fight in Congress to pressure U.S. corporations to divest from South Africa. He served in the U.S. Army from 1948 to 1952, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for service in Korea. Rangel is a frequent guest on "Meet the Press" and other TV programs.

Reviews of And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress

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Editorials

From the Publisher

“Brims with brio. . . . [A] remarkable life story, irresistibly told. . . . The congressman’s character portraits, of the famous and not-so-famous, are sympathetically drawn and in many cases wonderfully constructed. . . . Oh, the stories . . . there are plenty from which to choose. . . . As a politician/raconteur with a hell of a tale to tell, he sure has my vote.” —Eric Alterman, The New York Times Book Review

“Charlie’s memoir recounts his extraordinary life as only he could, with sparkling wit, outspoken candor, and remarkable insight. . . . While his heart and his voice are from Harlem, his story will inspire all Americans who believe hard work and conviction make dreams come true.” —President Bill Clinton

“[Charlie Rangel] possesses many qualities that have made him the able legislator and national leader he is today, but the most important of these are the qualities most in evidence in this fine memoir—his compassion, confidence and patriotism, the qualities of a first-rate American.” —Senator John McCain

Eric Alterman

Charlie Rangel's memoir…is mercifully short on laundry lists, but long on sass and spirit…And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since brims with brio&#8230Rangel's racially based, clubhouse style of politics may not appeal to everyone—including this reviewer. (A resident of his district, I left my ballot for congressman blank in the last election.) But as a politician/raconteur with a hell of a tale to tell, he sure has my vote.
—The New York Times

Publishers Weekly

Congressman Rangel didn't become one of the highest-ranking Democrats in the House of Representatives, or the newly appointed chair of the Ways and Means Committee, by alienating his colleagues, and he upholds that tradition in this memoir. A few of his anecdotes reflect badly on Republicans, but mostly the emphasis is on Rangel. The title comes from the attitude he adopted after nearly dying in the Korean War. "I lost my right to complain about anything again in life" after that, he explains, though the lesson really sank in after a job counselor pressured the high school dropout to choose a career and helped him get the college education that sent him to law school and beyond. Such stories from Rangel's early life, when he straddled the line between street life and higher aspirations, offer some of the most engaging passages. As for contemporary politics, Rangel revels in his role persuading Hillary Clinton to run for the Senate, while occasionally weighing in on the war in Iraq and the "kind of racist algebra" he believes keeps the GOP from making concessions to black voters. All in all, a fairly standard political memoir. B&w photos. (Apr. 5)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Library Journal

In this entertaining memoir, less a study of politics than an account of a remarkable life, the 19-term congressman from Harlem takes the reader from the days of his somewhat misdirected youth during the Depression and World War II to the present as he assumes the chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Along the way, Rangel was awarded the Bronze Star for leading his unit to safety after a deadly nighttime attack at Kunuri, Korea. (He won a Purple Heart as well.) Because he survived that attack, he has faced every adversity since with the perspective that nothing could be worse than that experience; hence his declaration, "I haven't had a bad day since." A founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rangel offers insight on the Civil Rights movement's struggles and advances, as well as a true insider's view of the triumphs and turmoil of his past 40 years in politics. Recommended for most public libraries.
—Jill Ortner

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