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Satan's Circus

Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New York's Trial of the Century
By: Mike Dash
Narrated by: Robertson Dean
Length: 12 hrs and 50 mins
Categories: History, American
3.5 out of 5 stars (127 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Nearly five million men and women have served the United States as police officers. Only one has been executed for murder.

They called it Satan's Circus, a square mile of Midtown Manhattan where vice ruled, sin flourished, and depravity danced in every doorway. At the turn of the 20th century, murder was so common in the vice district that few people were surprised when the loudmouthed owner of a shabby casino was gunned down on the steps of its best hotel. But when, two weeks later, an ambitious district attorney charged young policeman Charley Becker with ordering the murder, even the denizens of Satan's Circus were surprised. The handsome lieutenant was a decorated hero, the renowned leader of New York's vice-busting Special Squad. Was he a bad cop leading a double life, or a pawn felled by the sinister rogues who ran Manhattan's underworld?

With appearances by the legendary and the notorious, Satan's Circus brings to life an almost-forgotten Gotham. Chronicling Charley Becker's rise and fall, the audiobook tells of the raucous, gaudy, and utterly corrupt city that made him, and recounts not one but two sensational murder trials that landed him in the electric chair.

©2007 Mike Dash (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Engrossing, well-researched....Immerses readers in the corrupt hurly-burly that was old New York." ( Publishers Weekly)

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

New York, N.Y

Having grown up in NY and an avid reader of Pete Hamill, I was interested about this side of Manhatten and an era I knew nothing about. It was a little slow in the beginning and difficult to keep track of the characters, but it caught my attention towards the middle and it was delightful to listen to. Maybe a little overdone on detail but the individuals eventuallylly come to life and I found myself relating to them, of course not in character, but by being overwhelmed by a society out of control, power run amok and being trampled by the system and people interested in only themselves, their achievments and personal success. Certainly not an original concept but one played out in a unique
corner of society. I ended up having compassion for the victim, though certainly not an admirable person, and his loyal, loving wife, and of course the proper disdain for the system and the injustice it perpetrates to self serve individual desires. Not much different than the world of today and our self serving politicians and political figures, but a different and unique scenario.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

outstanding

just a great book to liten too. filled with history of a police departments progression. i liked the little facts that were picked up along the way and the reader was easy on the ears.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

WELL DONE!

A compelling story well read.

Satan's Circus tells the story of the only police officer ever executed in the USA.

The moralistic streak that hit this country didn't exist in Satan's Circus and it seems that everyone pretty much knew and let it slide.

As much political history as true crime story in this book we learn that the complaints of today are the same as it ever was.



2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

A Tedious Listen

A cornucopia of turn-of-the-century New York City criminals, cops, and politicians involved in complex, convoluted corruption leaving me to wonder, "Does this book ever end?"