George Washington Plunkitt was a politician who lived in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. He belonged to Tammany Hall—a Democratic political machine that was long known to be corrupt. He served as a Senator for many years and he was the district leader of the Fifteenth District in New York.
Plunkitt’s autobiography is most remembered for his ideas and talks about honest and dishonest graft and the civil service examinations.
Honest graft, as explained in the book, is the process of getting rich by honest means. Dishonest graft is the process of getting rich by cheating and stealing and being dishonest.
The civil service examinations were examinations that men took to get into political offices. They were hard examinations to pass. They included college-level material and specifics that perhaps only a few knew by heart. Plunkitt hated the civil service examinations.
These were the main points in Plunkitt’s autobiography. He talked about other things, of course, like his methods of collecting voters, and Tammany’s Fourth of July celebrations.
I found that the book contained interesting points, but if I had the choice of reading it or not reading it, I would not have read it. I found it to be rather boring, prejudiced and a little dry. If you are planning on becoming a Democratic politician, read it. If not, I would not recommend it.