Authors: Andrew Young, Harvey Newman and Andrea Young
Review by: Kayode Laro, Consul General of Nigeria in Atlanta
The title of the book puts the focus on Ambassador Andrew Young, but it is as much a book about Ambassador Young’s contributions to the growth and development of Atlanta as it is an account of how those who preceded him as Mayor of the city and other community leaders built the solid foundation that has supported the city’s rise from a Southern urban center to a national and global powerhouse.
I like how, throughout the book, Ambassador Young has given credit to whom it is due for the progress that Atlanta has made and the success it has achieved as a city. Ambassador Young presents his personal accomplishments as Mayor, Congressman, Diplomat and Civil Rights Leader with a huge dose of modesty. I find that admirable.
It is interesting and indeed enlightening to read how the city’s political and business leaders successfully managed race relations to create a win-win situation for all who call Atlanta home. The educational, political and economic empowerment of African-Americans is a theme that is highlighted in the book and actually runs through it.
Atlanta is probably best known across the world as the city that hosted the centennial Olympics. How Atlanta managed to win the bid to host the games in the face of stiff competition from cities such as Melbourne, Australia; Toronto, Canada; and the sentimental favorite for many around the world – Athens, Greece; is explained in considerable detail in the book. It is a classic case of using what you have to get what you want.
The book explains how Ambassador Young and the other members of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games pulled off an incredible feat against all odds. The Olympic “stamp of approval” announced to the international community Atlanta’s arrival on the world stage. The success of the games cemented Atlanta’s reputation as a city that has what it takes to host a mega event of global significance.
From nurturing and hosting one of the best known and most valuable brands in the world (Coca-Cola) as well as the inventor of the 24-hour news cycle (CNN); to owning the busiest airport in the world for the last two decades (Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport), Atlanta clearly has a lot going for it. This is brought out in the book.
All things considered, I find the book well-researched, well-presented and easy to read.
I would have no hesitation in recommending it to those wishing to know how Atlanta became the avant garde, vibrant, inclusive and dynamic city that it is today.