Captain Kidd has gone down in history as America's most ruthless buccaneer. However, Captain William Kidd was no career cut-throat; he was a tough, successful New York sea captain who was hired to chase pirates. Across the oceans of the world, the pirate hunter, Kidd, pursued the pirate, Culliford. One man would hang in the harbor; the other would walk away with the treasure. The Pirate Hunter is both a masterpiece of historical detective work and a page-turner.
"Aaaargh Matey, Listen to this tale!"
After Tripoli declared war on the United States in 1801, Barbary pirates captured 300 U.S. sailors and marines. President Jefferson sent navy squadrons to the Mediterranean, but he also authorized a secret mission to overthrow the government of Tripoli. He chose an unlikely diplomat, William Eaton, to lead the mission, but before Eaton departed, Jefferson grew wary of the affair and withdrew his support.
Mark Twain, the highest-paid writer in America in 1894, was also one of the nation's worst investors. "There are two times in a man's life when he should not speculate," he wrote. "When he can't afford it and when he can." The publishing company Twain owned was failing; his investment in a typesetting device was bleeding red ink. After losing hundreds of thousands of dollars back when a beer cost a nickel, he found himself neck-deep in debt. His heiress wife, Livy, took the setback hard.
"The Master Storyteller"
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 captains took hefty bribes to see nothing while reformers writhed in frustration. With cameos by Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, and a horde of very angry cops, Island of Vice is an unforgettable snapshot of turn-of-the-century New York in all its seedy glory and a brilliant miniature of one of America’s most colorful presidents.
"Interesting and informative"