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Crimes of New York: Stories of Crooks, Killers, and Corruption from the World's Toughest City
     

Crimes of New York: Stories of Crooks, Killers, and Corruption from the World's Toughest City

by Clint Willis (Editor), Client Willis
 

New York is not only a world capital of finance, fashion, and media, but also of every imaginable variety of criminal activity from the most brutal to the most creative. From rampaging draft rioters to Prohibition-era beer barons, from brilliant art thieves to Wall Street insiders, from the Boss Tweed to Dapper Don, New York's criminals personify the dark side of

Overview

New York is not only a world capital of finance, fashion, and media, but also of every imaginable variety of criminal activity from the most brutal to the most creative. From rampaging draft rioters to Prohibition-era beer barons, from brilliant art thieves to Wall Street insiders, from the Boss Tweed to Dapper Don, New York's criminals personify the dark side of the most vibrant and diverse city on earth. Crimes of New York takes us from the tortured, violent life of David Berkowitz, aka Son of Sam, who terrorized the city in the process of killing six young women to the story of the Manhattan yuppie millionaire whose marriage dissolved in drug abuse and ended in murder; from the life of a woman struggling to stay straight in the South Bronx to the violent childhood of teen killer Cape Man Salvatore Agron. Their crimes reflect our common failings—greed, anger, lust for power—intensified by the brutality and sophistication of the unique pressure cooker that is New York.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The title may be a bit hyperbolic, yet it provides the organizing principle for this intelligently assembled collection of stories, edited by Willis (NYPD: Stories of Survival from the World's Toughest Beat). The range of voices is remarkable. In "Notes from Underground," Pete Hamill reports sympathetically on the 1984 Bernhard Goetz subway shooting. Times city reporter Meyer Berger writes dispassionately about murder in "Mom, Murder Ain't Polite," taken from his 1942 collection The Eight Million. An excerpt from Herbert Asbury's The Gangs of New York mines downtown depravity after the Civil War, and Asbury's "The Persecution of the Reverend Dr. Dix" depicts dirty tricks played on a Manhattan rector in 1880. Professional writers did not craft all of the selections: chief of detectives Thomas Byrnes admiringly details the cunning of the bank sneak thief in an excerpt from his 1886 Rogues' Gallery, while ward boss George Washington Plunkitt explains "honest graft" in an excerpt from the classic 1905 Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, as reported by newsman William L. Riordon. Appearing disturbingly raw on the page are the words of gang member Salvador Agron, from Richard Jacoby's Conversations with the Capeman. One unlikely story included in a collection purportedly based on actual happenings is P.G. Wodehouse's "Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest," which locates the fictional Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves in New York. An engrossing collection; recommended for all public libraries.-Elaine Machleder, Bronx, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
So much to steal, so many ways to steal it. Corruption, embezzlement, fraud, the good old stickup, and more find their way into this tangy anthology of pieces on Big Apple crime from Adrenaline series editor Willis (NYPD, 2002, etc.). The writing throughout the 14 previously published selections is crackling good, and the crimes rise off the page in an oily funk from rascals and loathsome perps. Pete Hamill’s "Notes from Underground" lets readers identify with subway gunman Bernard Goetz: "Being trapped on the subway by four bad guys demanding not a dime or a quarter but five dollars is similar to the nocturne about the burglar beside the bed in the dark." Then come several items voiced with the brilliant, flat delivery of inter-World War writers, including "Mom, Murder Ain’t Polite," by Meyer Berger ("It has been Anna’s experience that you become accustomed to murder if you see enough of it"), and "The Wily Wilby," by St. Clair McKelway, who cites an accountant telling his client that a former treasurer of their firm "had hidden his defalcations so adroitly and with such originality that it had been a real pleasure to uncover them." (The absence of Joseph Mitchell from the collection is felt, though not keenly, since the quality of the material is so high.) A couple of juicy pieces limn post-Civil War New York’s chicanery, corruption, and brutality, a state of affairs that very much included the police, described by Luc Sante in an excerpt from Low Life (1991) as "a repressive and profit-gathering force halfway between gangsters and politicians, having to serve as interpreters between the two." In "The Annals of Manhattan Crime," attorney Patrick Wall crisply encapsulates 87 famouscrimes committed in the city, and Calvin Trillin contributes a silky-smooth report on two cheesy insider traders, "Marisa and Jeff." Highly literate and by turns convincing, depressing, even humorous, thanks to P.G. Wodehouse’s delicious "Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560255277
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
03/15/2003
Series:
Adrenaline Classics Series
Pages:
364
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 8.94(h) x 0.92(d)

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