The Napoleon of Crime

napoleon-of-crime260wThe Napoleon of Crime:
The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief
by Ben Macintyre
ISBN: 978-0307886460

Ben MacIntyre = The Napoleon of Storytellers

This is the 2nd Ben MacIntyre book I’ve read and I intend to continue reading the rest of his books. He has a knack for finding great stories, then telling them brilliantly, in a manner that is both fast-paced, yet also rich in historical detail. Oh, and he has a fine ironic, comic lens as well (as, for example, when he describes Adam Worth’s manservant and hoodlum bodyguard, John “Junka” Phillips, as a man of such gargantuan proportions that “his mother had obviously mated with a grizzly bear”).

Adam Worth himself was a classic “larger than life” character, rising from abject poverty as an antebellum eastern European immigrant, to elitist status in Victorian England, all through ill-gotten wealth, only to have the proverbial chickens come home to roost at long last. Worth’s ingenious and daring crimes, his eccentric underworld associates, and, very notably, the equally larger-than-life Pinkertons, in all their storied glory are all presented herein. The book is well sourced, supporting its historical accuracy.

The author has a gift for weaving together history, biography, psychology, and humor in a manner that kept me fascinated from cover to cover.


GSD, M.D. is a medical doctor and psychiatrist, specializing in the psychology of resilience, personal courage, and renewal.

Posted in Autobiography/Biography
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