by Bonnie Lautenberg
with Dirk Olin
foreword by Hillary Clinton
afterword by Joe Biden
contributions by Daniel E. Katz
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Cloth: 978-1-9788-3799-7 | eISBN: 978-1-9788-3800-0
Library of Congress Classification E840.8.L355L38 2024
Dewey Decimal Classification 328.73092

Frank Lautenberg was the embodiment of the American dream. The son of Eastern European immigrants who toiled in the factories of northern New Jersey, he rose to become a Fortune 500 CEO and eventually a five-term US senator. Yet his is not a simple rags-to-riches tale, but is rather the story of someone who used his newfound affluence and influence to improve the lives of ordinary Americans.
Told by one of the people who knew him best, his widow Bonnie, Frankly Speaking reveals the political strategies that made Lautenberg one of the Senate’s most powerful advocates for the health and safety of America’s citizens. He championed seemingly minor, unglamorous reforms that made a big difference to everyday lives, from raising the national drinking age to preventing domestic abusers from purchasing guns. These campaigns earned him powerful enemies in the alcohol, tobacco, and firearms industries, and he was subjected to some of the most brutal campaign mudslinging in American history.  Yet, as this inspiring biography reveals, New Jersey’s longest-serving senator was not afraid to take big political risks if it meant standing up for his principles, whether that meant opposing the Iraq War or protecting LGBTQ and women’s rights.