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Download Satan's Circus: Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New York's Trial of the Century Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Satans Circus: Murder, Vice, Police Corruption, and New Yorks Trial of the Century Audiobook, by Mike Dash Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (311 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mike Dash Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2007 ISBN: 9781415938850
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Nearly five million men and women have served the United States as police officers. Only one has been executed for murder.

They called it Satan’s Circus—a square mile of Midtown Manhattan where vice ruled, sin flourished, and depravity danced in every doorway. At the turn of the twentieth century, murder was so common in the vice district that few people were surprised when the loudmouthed owner of a shabby casino was gunned down on the steps of its best hotel. But when, two weeks later, an ambitious district attorney charged young policeman Charley Becker with ordering the murder, even the denizens of Satan’s Circus were surprised. The handsome lieutenant was a decorated hero, the renowned leader of New York’s vice-busting Special Squad. Was he a bad cop leading a double life, or a pawn felled by the sinister rogues who ran Manhattan’s underworld?

With appearances by the legendary and the notorious, Satan’s Circus brings to life an almost-forgotten Gotham. Chronicling Charley Becker’s rise and fall, the audiobook tells of the raucous, gaudy, and utterly corrupt city that made him, and recounts not one but two sensational murder trials that landed him in the electric chair.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dayna | 2/19/2014

    " I did like a lot of the detail in this book, especially some of the more "lay of the land" type descriptions of how gambling and prostitution were viewed at the turn of the century, but at times I just felt like it took a really long time to get through certain parts of the trial and retrial pieces. I just never really looked forward to reading this or got lost in it, but when I did find the time to read it, I felt like I was learning something about history and I liked the detail on the legal procedure. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 2/11/2014

    " Just couldn't get it going. Stopped reading and moved on to something else. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jack | 1/28/2014

    " This feels like the work of a good writer who was in too much of a hurry. The historical context he provides on city culture in general, and police culture specifically, in turn of the century New York is quite interesting and relevant to Dash's subject matter; the strongest part of the book is Dash's knack for conveying the integral role of corruption in every level of New York City's basic functioning. But these discussions do not feel fully integrated with the basic story Dash is telling, softening their effect. The stephen crane anecdote with which he opens, for example, could have been a really effective way to introduce Charles Becker as a person. One can see Dash approaching that a few times in the discussion, but instead he never quite gets there, so the story feels more like an attention getting anecdote in which Dash includes his subject's run-in with a celebrity just because he can. All in all, a worthwhile read, but more than anything it makes me want to read some of Dash's earlier stuff, to see if he's better when not working on a deadline. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry Webber | 1/25/2014

    " A fascinating and surprisingly heartbreaking story, if however, awkwardly constructed in the telling here. This would make an absolutely killer movie if it was done right... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 1/20/2014

    " Great story of vice and corruption in early 19th Century NYC as told through the single, somewhat tragic tale of police officer Charley Becker, the one man that paid with his life for the same sort of graft and vengeance he was awash in "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David Nadolny | 1/17/2014

    " It took me a long time to finish this book. It isn't the kind of book I'd recommend to anyone to read for enjoyment, but it does provide a very in depth feeling of New York City vice in the early 1900s. So for research purposes, I'd give it a four and a half. For reading pleasure, probably a one. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrea | 1/16/2014

    " This book started out so promising and then sort of got lost in the details. There seemed to be real problems sticking to a time period...A new person would enter the story and there would be pages of backtracking or general NYC history before the narrative would continue. Made it a rather tough read. "

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

    " Unabridged is putting it mildly. I am pretty sure that the author never met a fact he didn't want to share. The story was interesting, however, I got bogged down in all of the extra details. He goes over the history of EVERY part of New York. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Taigiseadh | 12/27/2013

    " Well-researched and jam-packed with interesting stories and facts about old New York. Highly recommended! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry B | 12/16/2013

    " As a history lover, I enjoyed much of this book. However, it went into excruciating detail and I found myself skimming through it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 12/10/2013

    " An exhaustively researched account of the thoroughly corrupt nature of NYC policing and politics at the turn of the century. Dash treats the true-crime aspect with a deft hand, presenting the evidence as known and leaving it largely to the reader to analyze its meaning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 12/2/2013

    " Interesting case that was very influential at the time though I doubt many people know about today. The turn of the century is one of my favorite time periods. I did find the book a bit long though. I think some of the details were unnecessary. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 david | 11/28/2013

    " Not the best book I've ever read....Not the worst either. It drags in too many places and takes forever to actually get to murder in question. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karen | 11/8/2013

    " Non fiction about NYC in 1919 and corruption in government and police. SLOW reading.......didn't grab my attention like I thought it would. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tammi Whitcomb | 10/23/2013

    " It was ok. I don't think I'd recommend it as compelling reading, but it was a good period piece. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Samantha | 6/29/2013

    " Thi isn't my kind of book and the author spends so much time trying to put the story into context that the tory itself gets a little lost. It's very well written and researched though, and as far as studies of police corruption go, this is fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nyama | 4/27/2013

    " Very well written true-crime novel set in the late 1800s New York City. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lola Nation | 3/15/2013

    " This book was filled with so much fact it lost the story line til the very ending. I could've have gone without reading this. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Al Billings | 2/3/2013

    " Interesting but two thirds of the way in, it became so slow and mIred in detail that I no longer cared. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeff | 1/14/2013

    " Only one police officer in U.S. has ever been convicted and sentenced to death for murder. This is the story and an interesting one at that. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Theresa | 9/6/2012

    " Really interesting book that is backed up with facts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James Bosanquet | 7/2/2012

    " I find I'm skipping forward over the personal histories. Mike Dash does encapsulate a moody and humorous nineteenth century New York. Quite impressive historical research. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caroline Arrington | 8/3/2011

    " It has taken me 2 months to get to page 150. I'm forcing myself to read a few pages at each sitting. This book is terrible. I can't finish it. Next! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Al | 1/4/2011

    " Interesting but two thirds of the way in, it became so slow and mIred in detail that I no longer cared. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 10/8/2010

    " Sort of a typical recreationist type book about the "most corrupt cop in New York City history" who held sway in the 1890s and first decade of the twentieth century. Pretty standard crooked cop stuff. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 10/26/2009

    " It took me a long time to finish this book. It isn't the kind of book I'd recommend to anyone to read for enjoyment, but it does provide a very in depth feeling of New York City vice in the early 1900s. So for research purposes, I'd give it a four and a half. For reading pleasure, probably a one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 7/26/2009

    " As a history lover, I enjoyed much of this book. However, it went into excruciating detail and I found myself skimming through it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Karen | 7/11/2009

    " Non fiction about NYC in 1919 and corruption in government and police. SLOW reading.......didn't grab my attention like I thought it would. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tealen | 5/17/2009

    " Unabridged is putting it mildly. I am pretty sure that the author never met a fact he didn't want to share. The story was interesting, however, I got bogged down in all of the extra details. He goes over the history of EVERY part of New York. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry | 12/21/2008

    " A fascinating and surprisingly heartbreaking story, if however, awkwardly constructed in the telling here. This would make an absolutely killer movie if it was done right... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lola | 9/13/2008

    " This book was filled with so much fact it lost the story line til the very ending. I could've have gone without reading this. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 1/27/2008

    " Just couldn't get it going. Stopped reading and moved on to something else. "

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About the Author
Mike Dash is the New York Times bestselling author of Tulipomania and Batavia’s Graveyard. He read history at the University of Cambridge and worked for some years as a magazine publisher before becoming a full-time writer. Dash lives with his wife and daughter in London, where he researches in the British Library and writes regularly for the English national press
About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.