Island of Vice

Island of Vice : Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York

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When young Theodore Roosevelt was appointed police commissioner of New York City, he had the astounding gall to try to shut down the brothels, gambling joints, and after-hours saloons. This is the story of how TR took on Manhattan vice . . . and vice won. In the 1890s, New York City was America's financial, manufacturing, and entertainment capital, and also its preferred destination for sin, teeming with forty thousand prostitutes, glittery casinos, and all-night dives. Police cap-tains took hefty bribes to see nothing while reformers writhed in frustration. In "Island of Vice," Richard Zacks paints a vivid portrait of the lewd underbelly of 1890s New York, and of Theodore Roosevelt, the puritanical, cocksure police commissioner resolved to clean it up. Writing with great wit and zest, Zacks explores how young Roosevelt goes head to head with Tammany Hall, takes midnight rambles with muckraker Jacob Riis, and tries to convince two million New Yorkers to enjoy wholesome family fun. When Roosevelt's crackdown succeeds too well, even his supporters turn on him, and TR discovers that New York loves its sin more than its salvation. With cameos by Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, and a horde of very angry cops, "Island of Vice" is an unforgettable snap-shot of turn-of-the-century New York in all its seedy glory and a brilliant miniature of one of America's most colorful more

Product details

  • CD-Audio | 12 pages
  • 129.54 x 149.86 x 30.48mm | 294.83g
  • Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Unabridged
  • Unabridged
  • 0307876861
  • 9780307876867

About Richard Zacks

RICHARD ZACKS is the author of several nonfiction books, including "The Pirate Hunter," "An Underground Education," ""and "History Laid Bare." His writing has appeared in the "New York Times," "Atlantic Monthly," "Time," "Harper's "and "Sports Illustrated," among many other publications. He writes in an office in New York City overlooking Union more

Review quote

Praise for ISLAND OF VICE "Here is young Teddy Roosevelt as the reformist New York City Police Commissioner confronted in 1895 with a cabal of unaccountably wealthy police officials, whole neighborhoods of brothels, and the paws of the Tammany Tiger in everything. A delicious municipal history, impeccably researched, excitingly told." --E. L. Doctorow, award-winning author of "Ragtime" "In the early 1890s, New York was America's vice capital, with thousands of prostitutes and countless all-night gambling halls. But then, in 1895, Teddy Roosevelt was appointed police commissioner. Richard Zacks paints an engagingly vivid picture of the rise of Roosevelt, the birth of the reform movement, and the creation of 20th century America. Roosevelt comes alive with all of his blustery and belligerent passion, and so does New York City." --Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of "Steve Jobs" and "Einstein: His Life and Universe" "From the opening pages of his rousing new book, "Island of Vice," Richard Zacks plunges readers into the filth, debauchery and corruption of 1890s New York. When an ambitious young Theodore Roosevelt strides in to clean up the mess, the story, already brimming with incredible characters and jaw-dropping details, only gets better. " --Candice Millard, bestselling author of "The River of Doubt" and "Destiny of the Republic" "Island of Vice is as thrilling as the low dives and wanton women it describes. This is the real-life story of an American icon, Teddy Roosevelt, battling vice and as colorful an array of crooked politicians as Tammany ever assembled, in raucous old, gas-light New York. Zacks does a superb job as both a historian and a storyteller." --Kevin Baker, bestselling author of "Paradise Alley" "An irresistible force - young Theodore Roosevelt, the police commissioner, determined to wipe out vice - meets an immoveable object - the corrupt, pleasure-loving city of New York in the 1890s. And theshow more

Rating details

1,436 ratings
3.6 out of 5 stars
5 17% (243)
4 39% (556)
3 34% (485)
2 9% (128)
1 2% (24)
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