NEW YORK: The Education of Clendenin

Behind the pink, tubby façade of rich Clendenin John Ryan, the soul of the selfless public servant throbbed. Unlike many another son of privilege, he did not collect show girls; he devoted himself to business and the sober pursuit of turning rascals out of government.

His credentials were irreproachable: he was Princeton '28, Republican, a grandson of Financier Thomas Fortune Ryan. With other moneyed political innocents (and some toughened professionals), he plunged eagerly into the Fusion movement which made Fiorello La Guardia mayor of New York in 1934. The Little Flower made...