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Plunkitt of Tammany Hall

George Washington Plunkitt

Book Overview: 

“I seen my opportunities and I took ‘em.”, George Washington Plunkitt of Tamminy Hall. There’s honest graft and dishonest graft according to Plunkitt. Listen to this candid discourse from a 19th century politician, and decide for yourself if things have changed.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ation, but had been allowed to serve his country as he wished, he would be in a good office today, drawin' a good salary. Ah, how many young men have had their patriotism blasted in the same way!

Now, what is goin' to happen when civil service crushes out patriotism? Only one thing can happen: the republic will go to pieces. Then a czar or a sultan will turn up, which brings me to the fourthly of my argument—that is, there will be h—— to pay. And that ain't no lie.

Chapter 4. Reformers Only Mornin' Glories

COLLEGE professors and philosophers who go up in a balloon to think are always discussin' the question: "Why Reform Administrations Never Succeed Themselves!" The reason is plain to anybody who has learned the a, b, c of politics.

I can't tell just how many of these movements I've seen started in New York during my forty years in politics, but I can tell you how many have lasted more tha. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A fantastic introduction by Terrence MacDonald puts Plunkitt in his place. This most infamous of early 20th century "ward bosses" consciously created his image as an anti-reform picaresque machine politician because he knew it would get him copy, and Evening Post reporter William Riordon was only to

Fantastic look at a key player in the infamous Tammany Hall machine, who pulls back the curtain to dish on the way things really work in the politics racket. In short, lots of quid pro quo. Some have found and will continue to find the contents of the book shocking, but I'll take what a good friend

Interesting compilation of political speeches made from a time when politics - especially dirty party politics- was much more in the open. His insights into how graft works and how to coalesce a political machine around goals are pretty timeless. It’s racist, sexist, anti-government, corrupt, and re

A series of quick, snappy speeches by a political leader of Tammany Hall. An inside look at machine politics, a completely different beast from conventional campaigns. Some of it definitely seems absurd today. His acceptance of "honest graft" left me aghast, but that could also be my naivety!


I loved this one!
It may be less useful if you don’t know the history of Tammany (I had just finished Machine Made).
But the anecdotal discussions on politics from a real master of the art at the time.

I wasn't expecting this book to provoke nostalgia. It wasn't a better world then, but American politics were better when there was more in it for the people.

Quick and hilarious reading, Plunkett's plain talks give more insight to American politics than any objective histories I've yet come across. It's a great period piece and, given the eternal nature of political turmoil, will probably be relevant for centuries to come.

The reporter William L. Riordan's recording of informal talks given by George Washington Plunkitt, one of the leading Tammany Hall politicians in late 19th century New York City. Famous for his phrase "honest graft", you get a glimpse for the feel of the machine politics going on at the time. A uniq

I'm sort of in love with G.W. Plunkitt.

This isn't really the kind of book you "like," or "dislike," it just Is. Towards the end it did get a little tiresome, mostly because it was so disheartening to realize that Plunkitt was, in some ways, better than most modern politicians. With all his disturbing ideas of "honest" graft, at did at le

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