Renowned muckraker and investigative reporter Lincoln Steffens recounts a series of historic corruption scandals in cities of the United States. The various backhanders and embezzlements occurring in the urban councils of the USA in the late 19th century are recalled here. Though the country was in a period of great development and advancement, this rise to industrial prowess was accompanied by an egregious culture of dishonesty. The development of 'old boy networks', whereby a group of insiders would conspire to siphon public funds and favour one another in matters of politics or business, became a serious problem. Steffens was a leading opponent of such nepotism, and did his utmost to root it out. In this book are images he gained of dishonest accounting; these, among other documentary evidence, led to certain corrupt officials losing their position and facing charges.