Empire of Mud: The Secret History of Washington, DC

Empire of Mud: The Secret History of Washington, DC

by J.D. Dickey


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Washington, DC, gleams with stately columns and neoclassical temples, a pulsing hub of political power and prowess. But for decades it was one of the worst excuses for a capital city the world had ever seen. Before America became a world power in the twentieth century, Washington City was an eyesore at best and a disgrace at worst. Unfilled swamps, filthy canals, and rutted horse trails littered its landscape. Political bosses hired hooligans and thugs to conduct the nation's affairs. Legendary madams entertained clients from all stations of society and politicians of every party. The police served and protected with the aid of bribes and protection money. Beneath pestilential air, the city s muddy roads led to a stumpy, half-finished obelisk to Washington here, a domeless Capitol Building there. Lining the streets stood boarding houses, tanneries, and slums. Deadly horse races gouged dusty streets, and opposing factions of volunteer firefighters battled one another like violent gangs rather than life-saving heroes. The city s turbulent history set a precedent for the dishonesty, corruption, and mismanagement that have led generations to look suspiciously on the various sin--both real and imagined--of Washington politicians. Empire of Mud unearths and untangles the roots of our capital s story and explores how the city was tainted from the outset, nearly stifled from becoming the proud citadel of the republic that George Washington and Pierre L'Enfant envisioned more than two centuries ago."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762787913
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 11/01/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 430,533
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

J. D. Dickey is the author of numerous Eyewitness and Rough Guide travel guides, including Washington, D.C., Directions and The Rough Guide to Washington, D.C., as well as a contributor to The Rough Guide to the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. He has written for the Independent and Daily Telegraph and created content for online sites such as Feed, Budget Travel, and Void magazine. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Table of Contents

A Note on Maps of Washington City vii

A Note on Geographical Terms viii

Introduction: Capital Movers ix

1 The Capital Archipelago 1

2 A Plague of Waters 25

3 A Mechanic's Guide to Washington City 45

4 Driving Souls 68

5 The Company They Kept 95

6 Coming to the Scratch 121

7 Illicit Congress 144

8 Seeing the Elephant 158

9 Suspicious Characters 192

10 The Fall of Washington City 205

11 A Gilded Cage 221

Epilogue: The Sea of Pavement 241

Acknowledgments 246

Notes 247

Bibliography 278

Index 290

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Empire of Mud: The Secret History of Washington, DC 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's the perfect guidebook. I knew there was so much to the DMV area that I haven't seen. This book is a great place to start
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great telling of the trials and tribulations of building Washington City. Believe me there were many.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago