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The Secrets of the Hopewell Box: Stolen Elections, Southern Politics, and a City's Coming of Age

Overview


"A sometimes eye-goggling history of political corruption in one corner of the postwar South."
--Kirkus Reviews
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Overview


"A sometimes eye-goggling history of political corruption in one corner of the postwar South."
--Kirkus Reviews
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Squires' . . . grandfather was a sheriff's deputy who carried a gun and a clenched fist, a man whose talk with cronies was full of references to 'sonofabitching judges' and 'goddamn niggers.' He was also, Squires relates, one of the muscle men behind a vicious cabal of power brokers headed by one Boss Crump. . . . That machine involved, for a time, much of Nashville's leading citizenry. It engineered elections, stole votes, organized lynch mobs, ran an illegal gambling empire, and in the 1950s, when it appeared that the traditional Democratic Party was going soft on civil rights, brokered the advent of Republicanism in one corner of the South.
--Kirkus Reviews

"His richly-textured narrative charts the Nashville machine's rupture with the state's top political boss, Edward Crump of Memphis, and traces the sweeping reforms that shattered rural white control of the state legislature. Squires dramatically reenacts the downfall of Nashville lawyer Tommy Osborne, convicted of jury tampering in 1964 after defending Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. He follows Nashville's transformation into a crucible of the civil rights movement in this stirring chronicle of the South's coming-of-age."
--Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As a boy, Squires rode on patrol with the grandfather he revered, Tennessee police sergeant Dave White, who doled out swift roadside justice and distributed bootleg whiskey. Only when Squires became a Nashville Tennessean reporter in the early 1960s did he perceive that White, Nashville city councilman Jake Sheridan, sheriff/undertaker Garner Robinson and their cronies were the hub of a political machine that, by this account, stole elections (including the swiping of a ballot box in the town of Hopewell) and collected tributes. Yet the author, ex-Chicago Tribune editor-in-chief, nevertheless credits this cabal with a "self-serving political egalitarianism" that brought many black voters into the electoral process. His richly textured narrative charts the Nashville machine's rupture with the state's top political boss, Edward Crump of Memphis, and traces the sweeping reforms that shattered rural white control of the state legislature. Squires dramatically reenacts the downfall of Nashville lawyer Tommy Osborne, convicted of jury tampering in 1964 after defending Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. He follows Nashville's transformation into a crucible of the civil rights movement in this stirring chronicle of the South's coming-of-age. Photos. (Mar.)
Library Journal
For many years, college instructors of political science and history have included on their undergraduate reading lists William L. Riordan's Plunkett of Tammany Hall (Dutton, 1963). It provides an insider's account of New York City's most famous political machine. Journalist Squires offers a similar perspective on a political machine in the Nashville area that exercised power from the 1940s into the 1970s. The machine relied heavily on ties of family and friendship to maintain its cohesion. Also, like many other political organizations elsewhere in the South, the machine made effective use of local law enforcement agencies and their personnel, both to turn out the vote on election day and to manipulate ballot counting afterward. The book is a good introduction for general readers and college undergraduates to a type of political organization that once could be found in all the states.-Thomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826519245
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 326
  • Sales rank: 1,382,500
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


James D. Squires began his newspaper career at the Nashville Tennessean in 1962, and later served as Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune and as editor of the Orlando Sentinel and the Chicago Tribune. In 1992 he served as media adviser for Ross Perot's presidential campaign. His next book is entitled Mink Slide.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 The Powder Puff Boys

Prologue 2

Dave 9

The Robinsons 17

An Undertaking 27

Part 2 Politics

Boss Crump's Gestapo 43

The Public Square 51

The Hopewell Box 59

Mink Slide 69

Part 3 The Colemere Club

Advancing the Art 89

Jake and Sillyman 104

Part 4 Booze and Bones

Stickmen and High Rollers 121

The Gorgeous Little Stooge 136

Part 5 Exile

Cootchie the Constable and Congress 148

Thugs and Jackasses 153

Part 6 Resurrection

Lessons from the Womb 167

The Unholy Trinity 173

Old Dog-New Sandbox 182

A Little Evil 189

Part 7 Camelot

A Jockey for Gallahadion 205

An Enemy Within 210

Part 8 Heroes and Villains

Lessons on Making Sergeant 241

The Destruction of Chicken Man 252

The Last Hurrah 261

Part 9 The Final Returns

Rewards of a Long Shot 275

Buying the Machine-For Real 281

Epilogue 284

Postscript 297

Acknowledgments 299

Sources 300

Index 301

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 8, 2012

    Nashville has a few surprises

    I am a Nashville native and knew Garner Robinson all my childhood. My dad grew up knowing the Robinson boys in the Madison / Old Hickory area. I'm sort of happy to know my dad's name didn't show up in this book. I guess my mom helped him find and stay on the straight and narrow. Thank goodness. This is a surprising accounting of some events about which the grown-ups only whispered until Mr. Squires shouted them out for the whole world to read in this book. But, truth is truth. It is well written and entertaining, in addition to being a little alarming.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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