James Michael Curley: A Short Biography by William M Bulger

I started reading this book after running into Auntie Amy Guen in Chinatown. It turns out hse started working for the City in 1947 and we ahd been talking about Curley because my sons go to the school bearing his name.

"Oh so you worked with Curley?"

"Well." she laughed, "He was in jail."

All I ever really learned about Curley was the corruption, but Bulger's version (a controversial political figure himself who I only met once, at an Oak Tin Association Banquet where I was performing lion dance) tells that side, yes, but also everything else, which I did not know.

This is the Chinatown Blog so to tie it into past posts I would say that a) Curley is everything that is missing from modern Boston Politics. It's what I have been pining for in Chinatown. It's like when Tony Leung Ka Fai in the Triad Zone puts out a hit and says to make sure that it is "ho ho tai tai."

I mean this and this and this happened,... but what about the theater!

I also know that Curley would have done damn well in this twitter age and glancing through his own book, "I'd do it again" I realize that it's not so much that times have changed. It's that people and attitudes have.

b) Bulger mentions the New Boston reform that takes place after Curley is out of office.

Now before I go on I have to mention that John Hynes was mayor at this point and as a Nativity alumn I'm not sure if he is related to Barry T. Hynes but I feel loyal to the name nonetheless.

That being said it was under his administration that the New Boston reforms came about including the razing on Scollay Square. Scollay Square was the old combat zone. And as Bulger mentions nobody really likes the City Hall that sits there now. It is interesting to think how the city would have developed, how Chinatown would have developed, had Scollay square stayed. The new Combat Zone that popped up on the edge of Chinatown would never have been. And Chinatown would not necessarily have been associated with that side of things. Well at least not Boston's Chinatown.

Auntie Amy mentioned Curley having a childhood friend who was Chinese. I'll have to get that story out later and that's for another post comparing ethnic groups in Boston which I'll get to at some point.

It is interesting that I am from Boston and yet the way my own history, even of the Irish, who supposedly run the City, that was shown to me was quite different from what I just read. As much as Irish are supposedly white, there is still a very anti-Irish sentiment perpetuated in academia simply by focusing on certain aspects of the culture and downplaying positive aspects.

In any case, I read the book because i realized that you can not divorce Chinatown's history from Boston history and American History like it's a separate thing.