A Debonair Scoundrel Author:Lately Thomas In the year 1906, San Francisco was rocked by two calamitous earthquakes. Nature herself was responsible for one; a man named Ruef was responsible for the other. — Abraham Ruef was a rogue of innumerable refinements. A classical scholar, a wit, a bon vivant, he was also a political boss who not only picked the city's officials - among them "Han... more »dsome Gene" Schmitz, San Francisco's "bassoon mayor" - but picked the city's pocket as well. When he was finally arraigned for graft, Ruef attempted, audaciously, to appoint himself District Attorney to prosecute the case!
In A DEBONAIR SCOUNDREL, Lately Thomas reconstructs the little boss's fantastic career and its gaudy, melodramatic setting: a city thrown into wild disorder; fighting in the streets; courts reeking with corruption; threats, kidnapings, and flying bullets - with overtones of slapstick comedy, pathos, and suspense.
The men who saw to Ruef's undoing were relics of a bygone West: millionaire Rudolph Spreckels, who tried to reform his own class; Frank Heney, a gun-slinging ex-cowboy who became the ablest prosecutor of his day; Fremont Older, the Evening Bulletin's crusading editor - and such other worthies as Teddy Roosevelt and William Randolph Hearts.
Their encounter with Abe Ruef is wittily described by Lately Thomas, author of The Vanishing Evangelist, who has brought his magnificent narrative gifts to a book as brilliant and rambunctious as the fabulous era it describes.« less