Extended Audio Sample

Download Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean up Sin-Loving New York Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelts Doomed Quest to Clean up Sin-Loving New York Audiobook, by Richard Zacks Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (507 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Zacks Narrator: Joe Ochman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9780307876874
Regular Price: $24.00 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $19.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

In the 1890s, New York City was America’s financial, manufacturing, and entertainment capital, and also its preferred destination for sin, teeming with forty thousand prostitutes, glittery casinos, and all-night dives. Police cap­tains took hefty bribes to see nothing while reformers writhed in frustration. 

In Island of Vice, Richard Zacks paints a vivid portrait of the lewd underbelly of 1890s New York, and of Theodore Roosevelt, the puritanical, cocksure police commissioner resolved to clean it up. Writing with great wit and zest, Zacks explores how young Roosevelt goes head to head with Tammany Hall, takes midnight rambles with muckraker Jacob Riis, and tries to convince two million New Yorkers to enjoy wholesome family fun. When Roosevelt’s crackdown succeeds too well, even his supporters turn on him, and TR discovers that New York loves its sin more than its salvation. 

With cameos by Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, and a horde of very angry cops, Island of Vice is an unforgettable snap­shot of turn-of-the-century New York in all its seedy glory and a brilliant miniature of one of America’s most colorful presidents.

Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bob | 2/20/2014

    " Very good book an enjoyable look back at a part of New York City that I never really knew about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Theresa | 1/29/2014

    " There's something fascinating about a Republican being a hard-core reformer. I could admire TR's tenacity and yet be amazed by his naivete. Here is a good example of a politician who simply doesn't understand the meaning of "compromise." In standing his moral ground he not only alienated Democrats, but he also turned off many in his own political party. It was a fascinating read, especially considering the current political climate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick | 1/22/2014

    " Every once in awhile, I read non-fiction. This book was worth it, focusing on a period that not many know about Roosevelt. It gives you a lot of interesting backstory into the man you think you know. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew Dixon | 1/18/2014

    " Interesting and incredibly well-researched book regarding Theodore Roosevelt and the New York Police Commision's attempt to "clean up" the rampant immorality of late 19th Century New York City. Fascinating on a sociological level in terms of the blue blood roosevelt who was part of the city's elite feeling so righteous about stopping the countless desperately poor people of the city from engaging in debauchery such as drinking beer on sundays. And in terms of the police being rampantly corrupt, the more things change... Liked the book though it could have used a final edit to take out some repetitive material. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brian | 1/14/2014

    " Too long. Same details over and over "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Stone | 12/29/2013

    " Fascinating slice of NYC life in the late 1800s. A little less satisfying than I'd hoped about what made Teddy tick, but still pretty interesting and a lot of history I wasn't aware of. Some very amusing passages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joey Benoit | 12/2/2013

    " This a good and focused account of Roosevelt's short time as police commissioner of new york. The books keeps a very good pace. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 11/20/2013

    " Great Turn of the century tale of Theodore Roosevelt,s tenure as NYC Police Commissioner just prior to becoming Vice President and then President after McKinleys assination. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 10/30/2013

    " Ok book. A bit of a slow read but finished. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve Gross | 7/18/2013

    " Excellent history of TR's two years on the NYC Police Commission, which led to Assistant Secretary of the Navy which led to VP which led to President. Very detailed portrait of the police and crime in NYC 100 years ago. Like most books these days, it's too long. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Geoff Smith | 5/9/2013

    " This was the most entertaining history book that I have read in the last couple of years. A young, zealous Theodore, Manhattan vice, crooked cops, spoil system politics--everything you can ask for. A hoot! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 LdDurham | 1/12/2013

    " The voice in this was great. Brought everything to life and made the book very fun to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jo | 6/28/2012

    " New York City in the late 1880's. T.R.Roosevekt is the police commissioner trying to clean up a corrupt city. Very good read with lots of historical information "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alexis | 4/11/2012

    " Why did I think this was going to be historical fiction? Would've been MUCH better if it was. I'm no great Teddy Roosevelt buff, so maybe that's why I just couldn't get into this. Interesting stuff here and there, but on the whole read like a research paper. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Richard ZacksRichard Zacks is the bestselling author of Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York; Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805; Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd; History Laid Bare; and An Underground Education. His writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and many other publications. He attended the University of Michigan and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. Born in Savannah, Georgia, he now lives in New York City.
About the Narrator

Joe Ochman is an American voice actor and stage director.