Synopses & Reviews
Plunkitt of Tammany Hall
A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics
William L. Riordan
Nobody thinks of drawin the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft.”
This classic work offers the unblushing, unvarnished wit and wisdom of one of the most fascinating figures ever to play the American political game and win. George Washington Plunkitt rose from impoverished beginnings to become ward boss of the Fifteenth Assembly District in New York, a key player in the powerhouse political team of Tammany Hall, and, not incidentally, a millionaire. In a series of utterly frank talks given at his headquarters (Grazianos bootblack stand outside the New York County Court House), he revealed to a sharp-eared and sympathetic reporter named William L. Riordan the secrets of political success as practiced and perfected by him and fellow Tammany Hall titans. The result is not only a volume that reveals more about our political system than does a shelfful of civics textbooks, but also an irresistible portrait of a man who would feel happily at home playing ball with todays lobbyists and king makers, trading votes for political and financial favors.
Doing for twentieth-century America what Machiavelli did for Renaissance Italy, and as entertaining as it is instructive, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall is essential reading for those who prefer twenty-twenty vision to rose-colored glasses in viewing how our government works and why.
With an Introduction by Peter Quinn
and a New Afterword
"Most of this guide book is devoted to an exhaustive catalog of New York City history, beginning with glaciers' impact on the geography of Central Park and ending (161 chapters later) with the aftermath of 9/11. Not for cover-to-cover reading, this guide from a tour-guide/entrepreneur husband-and-wife team is best approached from behind, with the 14 walking tours that cap the volume; each highlighted site references the relevant chapters preceding. Considering New York's dense history, these tours offer something for everyone: the Greenwich Village tour alone encompasses the Stonewall Inn, considered the birthplace of gay rights; Jefferson Market Courthouse, the nation's first night court; and the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. Not even natives know this much; even if they do recall the late-19th and early-20th century tenement laws meant to improve living conditions (chapter 84), they'll probably be surprised to learn where the city's first tenement is located (chapter 32). From the 1765 Bowling Green Park protest of the Stamp Act to the 1980 murder of John Lennon outside the Dakota Apartments, this extremely thorough sidewalk-level guide is rich with 20 years of combined tour experience. Photos and maps." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"I was born in New York and lived there for years, but I had no idea what I was missing until I picked up andlt;iandgt;Inside the Appleandlt;/iandgt;. It's jammed with fascinating pieces of history and great nuggets of trivia. I can't wait to walk Manhattan again with this book in hand." -- Noah D. Oppenheim, coauthor of the bestselling andlt;iandgt;The Intellectual Devotionalandlt;/iandgt;and#8482; series
"As a longtime New Yorker, I never tire of walking the streets and uncovering something new about the world's most fascinating city, where every street has a story to tell. andlt;iandgt;Inside the Appleandlt;/iandgt; is a gem of a book, filled with nuggets about New York's extraordinary past, from the sidewalks up. Whether you are a tourist exploring for the very first time or a seasoned walker in the city, this book is a must." -- Kenneth C. Davis, author of the bestsellers andlt;iandgt;America's Hidden Historyandlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;Don't Know Much Aboutand#174; Historyandlt;/iandgt;
How much do you actually know about New York City? Did you know they tried to anchor Zeppelins at the top of the Empire State Building? Or that the high-rent district of Park Avenue was once so dangerous it was called and#8220;Death Avenueand#8221;? Lively and comprehensive, andlt;iandgt;Inside the Appleandlt;/iandgt; brings to life New York's fascinating past.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;This narrative history of New York City is the first to offer practical walking tour know-how. Fast-paced but thorough, its bite-size chapters each focus on an event, person, or place of historical significance. Rich in anecdotes and illustrations, it whisks readers from colonial New Amsterdam through Manhattan's past, right up to post-9/11 New York. The book also works as a historical walking-tour guide, with 14 self-guided tours, maps, and step-by-step directions. Easy to carry with you as you explore the city, andlt;iandgt;Inside the Appleandlt;/iandgt; allows you to visit the site of every story it tells. This energetic, wide-ranging, and often humorous book covers New York's most important historical moments, but is always anchored in the city of today.
This lively, comprehensive history of New York City brings to life the city's fascinating and dramatic past for locals, tourists, and anyone eager to know the greatest city in the world. Includes 14 walking tours. b&w photos throughout.
About the Author
George Washington Plunkitt
was born into poverty in New York in 1842. He had only three years of formal schooling, but this lack did not hinder him from becoming one of the most powerful men in New York City politics. He died in 1924, a renowned civic leader and a millionaire.
William L. Riordan, a newspaperman for the New York Evening Post, interviewed George Washington Plunkitt and preserved his philosophy for posterity. He recognized in Plunkitt an exceptional frankness that set him apart from his fellow political bosses. In Plunkitt of Tammany Hall Riordan admits readers into an area of life that mystified middle-class Americans at the turn of the twentieth century.
Peter Quinn is a former speechwriter for Mario Cuomo and the author of Banished Children of Eve: A Novel of Civil War New York.