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

Amazon.com Price: $13.95 (as of 26/06/2022 08:57 PST- Details)

Was he New York City’s last pirate . . . or its first gangster? This is the true story of the bloodthirsty underworld legend who conquered Manhattan, dock by dock—for fans of Gangs of New York and Boardwalk Empire.“History at its best . . . I highly recommend this remarkable book.”—Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey GodHandsome and charismatic, Albert Hicks had long been known in the dive bars and gin joints of the Five Points, the most dangerous neighborhood in maritime Manhattan. For years, he operated out of the public eye, rambling from crime to crime, working on the water in ships, sleeping in the nickel-a-night flops, drinking in barrooms where rat-baiting and bear-baiting were great entertainments.His criminal career reached its peak in 1860, when he was hired, under an alias, as a hand on an oyster sloop. His plan was to rob the ship and flee, disappearing into the teeming streets of lower Manhattan, as he’d done numerous times before, eventually finding his way back to his nearsighted Irish immigrant wife (who, like him, had been disowned by her family) and their infant son. But the plan went awry—the ship was found listing and unmanned in the foggy straits of Coney Island—and the voyage that was to enrich him instead led to his last desperate flight.Long fascinated by gangster legends, Rich Cohen tells the story of this notorious underworld figure, from his humble origins to the wild, globe-crossing, bacchanalian crime spree that forged his ruthlessness and his reputation, to his ultimate incarnation as a demon who terrorized lower Manhattan, at a time when pirates anchored off 14th Street.Advance praise for The Last Pirate of New York“A remarkable work of scholarship about old New York, combined with a skillfully told, edge-of-your-seat adventure story—I could not put it down.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia “With its wise and erudite storytelling, Rich Cohen’s The Last Pirate of New York takes the reader on an exciting nonfiction narrative journey that transforms a grisly nineteenth-century murder into a shrewd portent of modern life. Totally unique, totally compelling, I enjoyed every page.”—Howard Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Gangland and American Lightning

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Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of June 2019: In The Last Pirate of New York, author Rich Cohen takes readers on a narrative nonfiction adventure back to the New York underworld of the mid-1800s. Drawing on archival materials and including newspaper accounts of the day, Cohen introduces us to the last man hanged as a pirate in this fair city on Friday the 13th, 1860: a handsome, charismatic thief and killer called Albert Hicks. Hicks roamed the ports and dives of the day, working for a time with a sidekick named Tom Stone, “Sundance to Hicks’s Butch,” but by 1860 Hicks was once again working alone. Hicks’s final crime was the brutal murder of three men aboard an oyster sloop; he killed them, stole their money and valuables, then attempted to sink the ship. The ghost ship was discovered with frightening evidence of the bloody crime, and the search for the killer began. Cohen recounts not only this heinous crime, but the life of a man who in a strange way embodied the soul of America at the time, “courageous yet grotesque.” Hicks gave a confession in order to supply his soon-to-be widow with funds after his death, and thousands flocked to his hanging. Cohen’s remarkable tale is a fascinating window on an early underworld legend in a city that made a star out of a killer. —Seira Wilson, Amazon Book Review

Review

“Rich Cohen’s The Last Pirate of New York is a compulsively readable nonfiction tale of mystery and murder. He captures the city’s teeming waterfront of the mid-1800s, crawling with every conceivable Dickensian degenerate and then some, with brilliance. He is one of the finest storytellers there is, and The Last Pirate of New York takes its place alongside Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City and Nathaniel Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea. Pick it up; you won’t put it down.”—Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights

The Last Pirate of New York is an absolutely incredible true story. From the opening scene of a blood-drenched ship drifting in the fog, severed fingers lying on deck, to the evocative depictions of the New York waterfront teeming with murderers, mountebanks, and crooks, this is not a book for the faint of heart. Rich Cohen’s research is masterful, and he brings alive nineteenth-century New York in raucous and fascinating detail. This is history at its best, full of drama, crime, dogged detectives, curious characters, smoky taverns, and dark byways. I highly recommend this remarkable book.”—Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God

The Last Pirate of New York is a riveting tale of Gotham City’s first gangster and most notorious serial killer. Rich Cohen, a superb writer and brilliant storyteller, delivers a chilling true-crime narrative—from murders to manhunt, courtroom to gallows. This book takes you to the darkest places of the human soul, and will keep you up all night once you start it.”—Linda Fairstein, author of the Alexandra Cooper crime novels

“A remarkable work of scholarship about old New York, combined with a skillfully told, edge-of-your-seat adventure story—I could not put it down.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia

“With its wise and erudite storytelling, Rich Cohen’s The Last Pirate of New York takes the reader on an exciting nonfiction narrative journey that transforms a grisly nineteenth-century murder into a shrewd portent of modern life. Totally unique, totally compelling—I enjoyed every page.”—Howard Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Gangland and American Lightning

“Rich Cohen has a knack for finding untold stories, and a talent for telling them exceptionally well. The tale of the murderous Albert Hicks is by turns upsetting, surprising, grisly, and peculiarly seductive—in other words, perfect material for this fine and original writer.”—Daniel Okrent, author of The Guarded Gate

See all Editorial Reviews
Was he New York City’s last pirate . . . or its first gangster? This is the true story of the bloodthirsty underworld legend who conquered Manhattan, dock by dock—for fans of Gangs of New York and Boardwalk Empire.“History at its best . . . I highly recommend this remarkable book.”—Douglas Preston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey GodHandsome and charismatic, Albert Hicks had long been known in the dive bars and gin joints of the Five Points, the most dangerous neighborhood in maritime Manhattan. For years, he operated out of the public eye, rambling from crime to crime, working on the water in ships, sleeping in the nickel-a-night flops, drinking in barrooms where rat-baiting and bear-baiting were great entertainments.His criminal career reached its peak in 1860, when he was hired, under an alias, as a hand on an oyster sloop. His plan was to rob the ship and flee, disappearing into the teeming streets of lower Manhattan, as he’d done numerous times before, eventually finding his way back to his nearsighted Irish immigrant wife (who, like him, had been disowned by her family) and their infant son. But the plan went awry—the ship was found listing and unmanned in the foggy straits of Coney Island—and the voyage that was to enrich him instead led to his last desperate flight.Long fascinated by gangster legends, Rich Cohen tells the story of this notorious underworld figure, from his humble origins to the wild, globe-crossing, bacchanalian crime spree that forged his ruthlessness and his reputation, to his ultimate incarnation as a demon who terrorized lower Manhattan, at a time when pirates anchored off 14th Street.Advance praise for The Last Pirate of New York“A remarkable work of scholarship about old New York, combined with a skillfully told, edge-of-your-seat adventure story—I could not put it down.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia “With its wise and erudite storytelling, Rich Cohen’s The Last Pirate of New York takes the reader on an exciting nonfiction narrative journey that transforms a grisly nineteenth-century murder into a shrewd portent of modern life. Totally unique, totally compelling, I enjoyed every page.”—Howard Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Gangland and American Lightning

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