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Dark Harbor: The War for the New York…

Dark Harbor: The War for the New York Waterfront

by Nathan Ward

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441396,965 (3.63)2
Traces the historical influence of the Mafia on New York's waterfront, drawing on the investigative series of New York Sun reporter Malcolm "Mike" Johnson into the region's racketeering, violent territorial disputes, and union corruption.



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The level of corruption that occurred in the shipyards in mid-20th century New York City is astounding. Gangs ran the yards and hid behind unions to create a system in which the lowly longshoremen were exploited and demoralized by unfair practices to outright threats, violence, and murder. In this book, Ward focuses on the long series of articles written in 1949 by Mike Johnson of the Sun, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Also, the film On the Waterfront was based on these articles.

To me it seems that the corruption was pretty much ignored until these articles were published. While police and city officials knew what was occurring, they were either getting kickbacks or just chose to ignore the crime and behaviors of the yard captains. Further, they denied that any of this was part of an organized crime syndicate. As the articles continued to circulate, they were eventually forced to do something about the racketeering and gangsterism that controlled the docks.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learning more about the history of the New York City harbor. Ward has done a great deal of research and managed to track down people for firsthand accounts. While I did lose my place in the story occasionally, the author presented the many tragic events well. His writing provided brought both the evil and heroic characters to life.
1 vote Carlie | Sep 16, 2014 |
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J'accuse--yes, I accuse--but it's not merely a petty criminal I am accusing . . . He would be powerless without support, and the support which he has been given by certain police officers, magistrates, and lawyers gives him good reason to believe that he can obtain any impunity he may need.

--Graham Greene, J'Accuse
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