Gaby's Reviews > Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean up Sin-loving New York

Island of Vice by Richard Zacks
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Feb 06, 12

bookshelves: historical-non-fiction, nonfiction
Read from January 15 to February 06, 2012 — I own a copy

To be honest, I didn't really know that much about Teddy Roosevelt beyond the book The War Lovers by Evan Thomas, his general reputation of being a Rough Rider, an adventurer, a Harvard man, one of the forces behind the Museum of Natural History in New York City. I wanted to read Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York and had expected to like him very much.

Richard Zacks' account of Teddy Roosevelt's term as a police commissioner is meticulously researched, detailed, and an interesting read. However, it doesn't paint Roosevelt in a flattering light at all. Through the correspondence between him and Cabot Lodge, his letters to his sister, and through various newspaper accounts, we get a sense of Teddy Roosevelt's grandstanding, his rigid and sometimes unreasonable behavior, and the depth of his ambition. Zacks spares little and we join TR and his companions as they perform their sting operations - outing the madams and their brothels, the barkeepers and the underground saloons, the police that are willing to look the other way. The book gives us a fascinating account of an unusual time in New York City's political and cultural history.

ISBN-10: 0385519729- Hardcover $27.95
Publisher: Doubleday (March 13, 2012), 448 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Program and the publisher.
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