Beth'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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's review
May 15, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Read from March 27 to 29, 2012 — I own a copy

A city tired of police corruption and shakedowns is ready for a change. Lead by Reverend H. Parkhurst, calling for change and enthusiastic newspaper articles, Theodore Rossevelt is placed in the opening as Police Commissioner of New York.

Immediate the team of four on the Commission Board prosecutes corrupt police officers and dismantles the immoral vices that are plaguing the city of New York. The newspapers continue to cheer the transformation on until the board starts interfering, a change from their initial backing. Roosevelt felt all the laws should be followed including Sunday “Blue Law”, restricting alcohol sales on Sunday. Being the only day the most of the citizen did not work this law was unenforced for years. Roosevelt reinstating this restriction, to keep the Sabbath holy, and was met with much resistance from the average city dweller. The pressure created by Roosevelt’s devoted convictions created many enemies and dissention in the board and general public.

Ultimately Roosevelt was inflexible, even when he didn’t hold the same standards true for himself . Mr. Zack gives us in-site into a little known side of Roosevelt, a human side, beyond the stoic president and rough rider. For good or bad, this book is a strong historical report of the man while he served in New York. I did find that Mr. Zack focused on Roosevelt’s double standards, it was written to almost make you want to embrace the corruption and vices since even Roosevelt himself was privately partaking while condemning. I found the Island of Vice an intriguing read with a vibrant portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, Commissioner. I am normally a fiction reader and even I found this book captivating.

This copy was given to me by Goodreads First Reads and Double Day in exchange for an honest review.

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