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

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

Richard Zacks

When younger Theodore Roosevelt used to be appointed police commissioner of recent York urban, he had the remarkable gall to aim to close down the brothels, playing joints, and after-hours saloons. this can be the tale of the way TR took on big apple vice . . . and vice gained.

In the Nineties, ny urban used to be America’s monetary, production, and leisure capital, and in addition its most well liked vacation spot for sin, teeming with 40 thousand prostitutes, glittery casinos, and all-night dives. Police cap­tains took hefty bribes to determine not anything whereas reformers writhed in frustration.

In Island of Vice, Richard Zacks paints a vibrant portrait of the lewd underbelly of Eighteen Nineties ny, and of Theodore Roosevelt, the puritanical, cocksure police commissioner resolved to scrub it up. Writing with nice wit and zest, Zacks explores how younger Roosevelt is going face to face with Tammany corridor, takes dead night rambles with muckraker Jacob Riis, and attempts to persuade million New Yorkers to take pleasure in healthy kin enjoyable. whilst Roosevelt’s crackdown succeeds too good, even his supporters activate him, and TR discovers that ny loves its sin greater than its salvation.

With cameos by way of Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, and a horde of very indignant law enforcement officials, Island of Vice is an unforgettable snap­shot of turn-of-the-century manhattan in all its seedy glory and a super miniature of 1 of America’s such a lot colourful presidents.

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