I grew up in Boston in the 40's and 50's, Roxbury actually. I left in 1959 when I was 19. I view it as having escaped. The neighborhood was virtually all Irish Catholic.
My parents, while not active in party politics were very politically conscious. Their political philosophy was quite simple. Roosevelt's Democrats walked on water; the Republicans were for the rich and against the poor (we, of course, were poor). To this day, over 43 years after leaving their house, I have a bit of trouble pulling the lever for a Republican candidate.
As I grew older I realized that their philosophy, which was generally shared by all in the neighborhood, created problems such as complacency and corruption. In our neighborhood the Boston police from Station # 9 made no effort to conceal what they were doing while they picked up their payoffs from the many bookie joints along Dudley Street. Whenever the state investigated a corrupt official or the very corrupt Boston Police Dept. my mother would say that it was just the Republicans taking their revenge on good Irish Catholics. Somehow she always knew that these good Irish Catholics went to mass every morning. The corruption and incompetence in front of her made no difference in her thinking.
Professor O'Connor's book helped me understand how my parents came to develop these political attitudes. Much of what he talked about still existed in the Boston Irish neighborhoods while I was growing up. I suspect to some extent it still does. I just finished reading "All Souls: A Family Story From Southie" by Michael Patrick McDonald. This is a very sad story which shows just how much the Irish Catholic's in South Boston have allowed their communities to degrade and allowed themselves to be snowed by their own Irish Catholic politicians.
If you have any interest in Boston political history or Irish American history you will love this book. I'm sure that the history of the Irish in Boston is similar to the Irish in most major US cities.