Plunkitt of Tammany Hall
A political machine member describes its operations
Why read it?
2 authors picked Plunkitt of Tammany Hall as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
Plunkitt infected me with “the political bug.” George Washington Plunkitt’s “very plain talks on very practical politics” showed me the joys of playing the political game, of devising and executing strategies and tactics, of outwitting opponents. I first read Riordon’s classic for grade school and loved its gritty romp through turn-of-the-century New York. I reread the book for a college history course and came to appreciate politics as the art of the possible – and to see the innate conflict between ambition and conscience. After seven years in journalism, I “crossed to the dark side” and became a political operative,…
To understand the rise of American cities and urban politics—as I attempted to do in researching and writing Triangle –you must start with immigrant machine politics. Lesson One is this delightful little book. Tammany Hall in New York was the model machine, and George Washington Plunkitt was an unapologetic Tammany man. After he lost his grip on the West Side to a rival, Plunkitt shared his life lessons with an eager journalist. Don’t be thrown by Plunkitt’s oversize character or by author Riordan’s attempts to capture his Irish brogue in print. This is the best primer in practical politics—how…
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