Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest to Clean up Sin-Loving New York – An Audiobook Review

I have to admit I have been reading books and listening to audiobooks far more than I’ve been writing. I have a number of books to review in the next few days. I’ve encountered so many good ones to share and this one, Island of Vice, by Richard Sacks is the one that started my marathon reading adventure. I am a fan of Theodore Roosevelt. I snap up everything I find on the man, but Island of Vice showed me a different facet of his character that I have not picked up before – getting even. While he’ll always be one of my heroes, his star has dimmed since reading this book.  As the title states, cleaning up New York at the end of the 19th century was a doomed quest. But Richard Sacks seems to indicate that it might have gone better had the police commission not turned on itself. One of the prime instigators of this was my hero, Theodore Roosevelt. As we all know, Roosevelt was able to recover from this and go on to a successful political career. It’s an interesting tale and a fascinating time in our country’s history.  As Sacks notes “The vitality of New York comes more from the crooks than the do-gooders.” I think that sums the situation up nicely.

The book was narrated by Joe Ochman who succeeded in providing an excellent voice to the many characters involved in this story. The book is well-written and fills out the sketchy bits of information I got in school about this period in history. I highly recommend.


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