SOCIAL SCIENCES

The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation

Spiegel & Grau. Jun. 2019. 256p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780399589928. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780399589935. CRIME
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Cohen (The Chicago Cubs) presents the story of New York pirate and gangster Albert Hicks, and the teams who led his capture and execution, in rich detail. Hicks was arrested in 1860 for murdering an oyster ship crew; in his possession were artifacts from crew members and laundered money believed to be his motive for the crime. Hicks had attempted to sink the ship, thereby destroying evidence, only to discover later that the "ghost ship" had drifted into New York harbor, creating a fervor throughout the city. Following his trial, Hicks confessed to a life of crime and becoming hardened by the tough conditions he faced in prison as a young adult. Upon his release, he committed himself to a life of adventure and criminal activity, chasing the California gold rush, robbing and killing gold diggers, as well as pirating throughout Latin and South America and New Orleans before heading back to the East Coast where he started a family. The sensation surrounding Hicks enthralled New York and ensured his infamy as one of the city's leading gangsters.
VERDICT A thoroughly researched and engaging tale; recommended as an additional purchase for true crime collections.

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