George William Walsh. Education: Fordham University, B. Religion: Roman Catholic. Brooklyn, NY Military service: U. Army, — Walker, with a social history of the city in the Roaring Twenties.
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Lavish celebrity receptions, glamorous theatrical life, Ziegfeld Follies showgirls, and such notorious gangland figures as "Dutch" Schultz and "Mad Dog" Coll colored the era in which Walker flourished. Elected to office in with the support of the local Democratic party organization called Tammany Hall, "Gentleman Jimmy," as he was known to legions of admiring voters, presided over one of the most openly corrupt municipal administrations in New York City history.
Nevertheless, according to Walsh, the debonair mayor managed to charm nearly everyone he met, from visiting dignitaries to show business personalities like Follies star Betty Compton, who became his mistress.
Lincoln, Grant, and the 1864 Election
The onset of the Great Depression foreshadowed the end of Walker's political career. In the state of New York mounted an investigation of corruption in New York City's municipal courts, and the following year a judicial commission was formed to probe allegedly rampant malfeasance throughout Walker's administration.
The commission uncovered evidence that many city officials had taken bribes and payoffs for political favors, and it surfaced that Walker himself kept secret bank and brokerage accounts totaling almost one million dollars, supplied by illegal payoffs from businessmen and contractors. At a removal hearing before Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt in , Walker defended the acceptance of what he called "beneficences.
New York Times critic Herbert Mitgang praised the Walker biography for getting "a great deal of information on the record without changing any past impressions about the charming rogue. Walsh indirectly provides a case history of how not to govern New York City. Shepherd remarked that Walsh "accepts Walker as a very fallible man and chronicles his life, with little moralizing.
The author probes the nature of O'Dwyer's relationship with organized crime boss Frank Costello, relying in part on transcripts from the Kefauver Crime Investigation Committee hearings held by the U. Senate, for which both men testified. The book recounts how the two, each ambitious immigrants who started at the bottom, fought their way to high position: Costello by means of the gangland wars of the 's and 's, and O'Dwyer as a young district attorney who prosecuted Murder Incorporated.
The seemingly natural antagonists cemented an alliance brokered by Tammany Hall when O'Dwyer decided to run for mayor. The political machine controlled key votes and the crime syndicate backed Tammany, supplying goons to marshal illegal votes and threaten opponents. Walsh quotes O'Dwyer's explanation that "there are things you have to do politically, if you want cooperation.
In the New York Times Book Review , Jeff Greenfield judged Public Enemies to be "a lively account of the immense political influence wielded by gangsters in the biggest city in America. All International orders shipped via courier, typically arriving within business days. Expedited and Standard International rates are the same.
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