Age range: adult
Genre: history, nonfiction
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (June 16, 2015)
Source: from publisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
About the Book:
From bestselling author Gary Krist, a vibrant and immersive account of New Orleans’ other civil war, at a time when commercialized vice, jazz culture, and endemic crime defined the battlegrounds of the Crescent City
Empire of Sin re-creates the remarkable story of New Orleans’ thirty-years war against itself, pitting the city’s elite “better half” against its powerful and long-entrenched underworld of vice, perversity, and crime. This early-20th-century battle centers on one man: Tom Anderson, the undisputed czar of the city’s Storyville vice district, who fights desperately to keep his empire intact as it faces onslaughts from all sides. Surrounding him are the stories of flamboyant prostitutes, crusading moral reformers, dissolute jazzmen, ruthless Mafiosi, venal politicians, and one extremely violent serial killer, all battling for primacy in a wild and wicked city unlike any other in the world.
About the Author:
GARY KRIST has written for the New York Times, Esquire, Salon, the Washington Post Book World, and elsewhere. He is the author of the bestselling City of Scoundrels and the acclaimed The White Cascade, as well as several works of fiction. He has been the recipient of the Stephen Crane Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Lowell Thomas Gold Medal for Travel Journalism, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Find the Book:
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My Thoughts on Empire of Sin:
A fascinating account of the Crescent City in the early 1900s. It follows the rise and fall of the vice business in New Orleans over a period of about 30 years. We learn about the vice district and its mayor, Tom Anderson as well as jazz musicians like Buddy Bolden and Louis Armstrong. I also got the privilege of waking up at 3:00am when I thought the Axman was coming to get me (until I remembered that he killed his last victim in 1919).
I was riveted through the accounts of mob “justice”, the floundering police department, the reformers, and the rise of jazz music. The Axman accounts are morbidly fascinating. Gary Krist paints a vivid picture of New Orleans one hundred years ago and keeps his audience captivated to the last page. If you like history, New Orleans, or are simply looking for a great read, pick up this book.
Content: violence and prostitution
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