Mackerels in the Moonlight

Four Corrupt American Mayors

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About the Book

Political corruption is easy to define—the use of public office for private gain—but it isn’t so readily seen because politicians cover their tracks so well.
Four of America’s most corrupt mayors and their shady dealings are covered in this work. “Big Bill” Thompson, who was mayor of Chicago three times, is considered America’s worst mayor, having, among other questionable activities, accepted support from gangster Al Capone. Frank Hague of Jersey City described his town as the “moralest city in the nation” and banished prostitution and pornography, but he saw no evil in gambling and Jersey City became a gambling mecca. Jimmy Walker of New York City was a “good time” mayor and did well as the city prospered, but cared little for the city’s money and his own when the Great Depression struck. James Michael Curley of Boston openly asserted that “politics is my business,” but he flaunted a lavish home built entirely at the public’s expense and was elected again and again, once while he was still in jail.

About the Author(s)

Gerald Leinwand, is President Emeritus of Western Oregon University. He is also the author of numerous other books and lives in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Gerald Leinwand
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1845-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Prologue: Four Funerals      5

Bill Thompson: America’s Worst Mayor

1 From Home on the Range to Hat in the Ring      11
2 The Playboy as Politician      18
3 To Hell with the People      27
4 America First      43

Frank Hague: America’s Second Worst Mayor

5 Bad Boy or Momma’s Boy      69
6 Mayor of an American City      80
7 To Make His Daddy Happy      96

Jimmy Walker: America’s Third Worst Mayor

8 Politician and Legislator      109
9 Mayor of a City That Never Sleeps      123
10 The Mayor and the Inquisitor      137
11 Scandal: The Decline and Fall      161

James Michael Curley: America’s Fourth Worst Mayor

12 The Making of a Political Boss      175
13 The Mayor of the Poor      188
14 Winning Isn’t Everything—It’s the Only Thing      213

Epilogue: The Paradox of Political Corruption      241
Notes      253
Further Reading      263
Index      265

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A good read…recommended”—Library Journal