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BOOK REVIEWS [ 303 ] THE TWEED RING By Alexander B. Callow, Jr. (New York: Oxford Umvelaty Press, 1966. Pp. xi, 351, preface, illus., biblio., index. $7.00.) "The newcomer found that he had escaped the poverty of the farm to find the poverty of the city. His home was that well-known New York eyesore, the tenement. His existence was barely marginal. . . . Filth, disease, periodic unemployment, family disorganization, and despair, erupted into what particularly worried the ... middle classes—disorder and crime!' This quotation from Mr. Callow's new book on Tweed refers not to New York City in the 1960s, but in the 1860s. The "newcomer" mentioned is not the Negro recentiy arrived from the rural South, but the Irish or German immigrant of a century ago. The slum dweller, together with exploding urban growth and antiquated formal institutions of government, provided the conditions which spawned the Tweed Ring. Professor Callow's book is the story of this Ring and of the city that produced it. It is in many respects a familiar story, for parts of it have been related before. But never has so much detail of Tweed's rise and fall been drawn together in one book. And it makes for fascinating reading, because the author has a flair for vivid and entertaining prose. The book is divided into three parts. The first sets the stage with accounts of the upward progress of Tweed and his chief henchmen to power and fortune. It also includes chapters on the slum districts of lower Manhattan, the people who lived there, and the impossibly outmoded municipal system that attempted to govern them. In the second part, dealing with the institutions Tweed welded together to create his machine, Callow describes the transformation of Tammany Hall, the manipulation of city government, the corruption of the courts, and the utilization of public charity to win the votes of the poor. The final part recounts the gargantuan thefts by the Ring and the rising of outraged respectables who finally laid Tweed low. It is the author's conclusion that public revulsion against the Tweed Ring, while it succeeded in scattering top personnel, left virtually intact the organization that was Tweed's most significant creation. The machine would five on to bedevil generations of New Yorkers to come. The Tweed Ring invites comparison with Seymour Mandelbaum's recent study, Boss Tweecls New York. Where the latter is a highly sophisticated analysis, Professor Callow's book offers no such deep explanations. It is narrative, pieced together in many instances from printed sources. An insight into Callow's methods of synthesis can be gained from comparing his pages 153-55 to the article on Tweed appearing in the October 1961 number of the Quarterly. This would show that Mr. Callow has not succeeded in passing his data through his own mind, reflecting on it to detect anomalies and define significant interrelationships.