In this rousing first book, ex-newsman, whilom magazine writer, and current radio-TV writer Bales sets us down almost bodily in mid-19th century New York when Boss Tweed and his robber associates staged one of the most sordid dramas in our history. Tweed & Co. (he was named after William Marcus, who later said, ""To the victors belong the spoils"") are too often regarded as merely thieves and grafters. They were much more, as this book points out with colorful care. The Ring debauched the people go thoroughly that they believed in nothing but cunning, stealing and killing-while decency slept. It debased democratic bloody protest against conscription but the anarchic backlash of a totally corrupted people against every form of authority. The author appears to have researched his subject admirably and to have used superb judgement in avoiding biased testimony. This is at once an entertaining and a horrifying book. Lest the tiger return, let every thoughtful man and woman read it before he cast his first vote- or his next one.