Inside the Diaries, and the Mind

The Governor's mansion is silent and mostly dark. It is 5, an hour before dawn, as Mario Cuomo sits alone in the small upstairs study writing longhand entries in his diary. It is a discipline Cuomo has engaged in for almost 15 years. Outside, the streets are empty. His wife Matilda is still asleep nearby, and on the floor above, two of their children, Madeline, 21, and Christopher, 15, have two more hours before they wake.

The voluminous diaries provide a glimpse into Cuomo's well-camouflaged self. For despite his hearty exterior, almost no one really knows him. Even as a boy,...

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