Leonard Garment was a successful Wall Street attorney when, in 1965, he found himself arguing a Supreme Court case alongside his new law partner--former Vice President Richard Nixon. It was the start of a friendship that lasted more than thirty years. In "Crazy Rhythm, " which the "New York Times" Book Review called "an eloquent memoir," Garment engagingly tells of his boyhood as the child of immigrants, and the beginning of a life-long love affair with jazz. After Brooklyn Law School, Garment went on to Wall Street, where encountering Nixon changed the course of his life. "Crazy Rhythm" allows us a rare, intimate look at Nixon's extraordinary tenure in the White House. More than that, the book tells stories from a life that has included close encounters with characters such as Benny Goodman and Billie Holiday, Henry Kissinger and Alan Greenspan, Golda Meir and Yasser Arafat, Giovanni Agnelli and Marc Rich, and moves like the best jazz, in a writer's voice that is truly one-of-a-kind. To quote former U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "A century from now, I cannot doubt Americans will still be reading "Crazy Rhythm." This is a story of our time, written for the ages."
The exuberant, worldly-wise autobiography of a Washington/Wall Street insider who thrived despite the hard blows life has dealt him on more than one occasion. A product of Brooklyn, Garment (who turned 72 in May) does not recall his comfortable childhood with any particular fondness. Indeed, he left home early to pursue a career as a clarinet/saxophone player in jazz bands. Released from the WW II army for medical reasons within weeks of induction, Garment turned his back on music and earned a law degree; his academic record was good enough to land him a coveted job with the Waspy Manhattan firm of Mudge, Stem, Williams, and Tucker. A partner by the time Richard Nixon joined the fold in 1963, the self-styled "ethnic icebreaker" soon became a close friend of the former vice president's. An important member of the team that helped put him in the White House, Garment became an all-purpose troubleshooter for Nixon. The tough-talking administration's informal envoy to both US Jewry and Israel, Garment (who characterizes his ex-boss as operationally progressive but rhetorically retrogressive on social issues) also worked on civil-rights programs. Garment was untainted by Watergate, on which he comments with perception and compassion. He eventually returned to New York City. With time out to serve as Daniel Patrick Moynihan's special assistant for human rights during his stint as US ambassador to the UN, he resumed the practice of law. While personal tragedies (including the suicide of his first wife) took a toll, the resilient Garment bounced back. Happily remarried, with a new young daughter to raise, the globe-trotting attorney is again ensconced in Washington with a world-class clientele. The engaging, often ingratiating, recollections of a free-spirited agent and advocate who has learned a lot from his varied experiences close to the seats of power. (Kirkus Reviews)