This story of Albert Hicks—one of the most notorious figures of New York's 19th century underworld—traces his humble origins to his wild, globe-crossing, bacchanalian crime spree and his ultimate incarnation as a demon who terrorized lower Manhattan at a time when pirates anchored off 14th Street.
The book reads as if Hicks deliberately left behind all of the details required for Mr. Cohen to piece together more than 150 years later a compelling portrait of the quirks and failings of 19th-century society ... Mr. Cohen wisely saves his richest material for last ... Mr. Cohen’s most valuable contribution is his social depiction of 19th-century New York, a city rife with inequality and glaring cultural contradictions ... The Last Pirate of New York is history-lite at its best, and readers will finish it with a satisfaction deeply relevant today. The truth about America’s past—the greasy pole of making a living, the lovable felons, the Barnumesque self-promoters—is a lot more interesting and useful to know than those patriotic fairy tales we were fed in school.
He writes a gripping tale, vividly recounting the carnage aboard the E. A. Johnson after Hicks signed on as first mate ... Cohen spells out in riveting detail how persistence, luck and circumstantial evidence led police to [Hicks] ... [great] description and level of detail ... The Last Pirate of New York is more than an entertaining read about New York on the dawn of a new era. It offers valuable insight into how we Americans allowed the 'gangster nation' we still live in today to flourish.
Cohen...presents the story of New York pirate and gangster Albert Hicks, and the teams who led his capture and execution, in rich detail ... A thoroughly researched and engaging tale; recommended as an additional purchase for true crime collections.