^Free E-pub ☙ Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans ⇦ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

I read The Axeman s Jazz earlier this year and when I first opened this, I had a moment of deja vu, but it didn t last long This book was lengthy, though it didn t feel that way, and compelling Each part of the story is interconnected in such a way you don t really feel as if the book is divided into parts Enjoyable read. Another winner by Gary Krist I have now read 5 of his books and loved all of them Here he trains his sights on New Orleans and all the forces that were working, usually in competition with each other, to gain control of the city From the prostitutes, the red light district known as Storyville, to Jazz, political and moral reformers and the Italian Black Hand What a ride for about 30 years Jazz suffered as the reformers prospered, and of course the reformers were all white and made sure that the blacks and creoles were left powerless under the Jim Crow laws Really interesting cast of characters and learned about the AxeMan murders down in New Orleans that were never solved Fascinating city, fascinating story and great writing by Gary Krist NOTE First time reviewing nonfiction When I first read the synopsis of this book, I thought it would make for a good departure from my usual read some creative nonfiction And while Empire of Sin definitely delivered on that front, I thought it had a few weaknesses that really hampered how effective it was as an interesting history of New Orleans.But let s start with the good the variety of content.Krist manages to cover a significant number of topics key to the development of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries From the birth of jazz and black white race relations to New Orleans reputation as a city of sin and vice this book paints the numerous threads that were gradually woven together over the course of several decades post Reconstruction to create the very colorful city of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century I was impressed at the breadth of topics discussed in this book and how each connected to all others to form a fairly cohesive picture of the city One that I was totally unaware of I ve had very, very little exposure to the history of New Orleans prior to reading this book So, on that front, this was an interesting read It gave me some fairly good insight into the development of New Orleans, and I learned quite a bit Always fun.However and here s the bad , this book suffers from a number of structural issues that weakens its overall execution While the topics discussed always kept my attention, the chapters often abruptly jumped from one topic to the other The transitions between themes were almost nonexistent, and because this book includes so many historical figures, I frequently found myself confused mixing up names and the like because by the time the book got back around to continuing on a previous theme, I d long forgotten most of the people involved There were simply too many people to keep track of for me to effectively do so with the book jumping around like it did.I also thought the opening emphasis on crime added little to the overall book It frames the book as if everything would connect to the mentioned crimes in some way, but most of the topics were almost wholly unrelated, and when the book finally got back around to discussing the crimes, I d long stopped caring and almost totally forgotten about them Had the focus on the crime not been there, I wouldn t have had the expectations I did going into the rest of my book, and I might have enjoyed it slightly.Finally, I found the ending of the book VERY weak Everything winds down suddenly and without much detail, which I thought was strange given how much detail went into everything else Don t get me wrong, I appreciate succinct writing as much as the next reader, but in this case, the ending jumped right over succinct and hit awkwardly abrupt territory Instead of a big finale, the book just sort of fizzled out.Overall, I think Empire of Sin made for an interesting history of New Orleans, but it suffered quite a bit from its jumbled structure.Rating3 5 DisclosureI received a free copy of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I had a hard time with this book It s really 3 books in one A brief history of the birth of jazz A series of murders And the politics of New Orleans in the early 20th century The author tries to connect those three arenas, but in the end the only connection I felt was that they all occurred during the same time period The information was interesting, but the attempt to weave it all together fell flat. Oh man, New Orleans has a crazy past I knew it was called the city of sin, but when we went there we just had food, shopped, and visited historical sites We didn t go to any bars therefore managing to avoid most of that stuff we also went back to our hotel before 10pm every night This book was really interesting I listened to the audiobook. New Orleans has a fascinating history and Gary Krist captures much of it here In just 30 years, from 1890 to 1920, New Orleans attempted to and almost succeeded in transitioning from a city of vice to a city of virtue A once racially diverse and tolerant city was turned into a racist, intolerant city Storyville was created, music floated in the air, and jazz was born This book is an easy and enjoyable read I have never been to New Orleans and was not around in the early 1900s, yet I felt like I was there in the city, at that time, getting to know all these people The sights and sounds, the people and the politics, all of it came to life as I read Krist covers a broad scope of material He touches on everything from the early development of the city, to its cultural diversity, to Reconstruction, music, crime, political corruption, racism, and the emerging prohibition We see how all these issues intertwined to spark changes, some good and some disastrous While Krist takes on a lot of subject matter, I never felt he overreached or lacked focus In fact, the wide array of information is what allowed me to immerse myself fully in the era The amount of research done for this book had to be overwhelming Yet it never felt that way as I read There is no forcing of information or recitation of facts The content flows smoothly Only after I closed the book did I realize how much I d learned. I ve been completely and utterly spoiled by Erik Larson when it comes to narrative nonfiction Well, and then there s Steve Sheinkin, who does the same thing for kids and teen nonfiction For some odd reason, the only nonfiction I really enjoy reading is about crime, but it has to be historical crime Or some sort of disaster But yes morbid, I know I swear I m not a degenerate It just looks that way when you see my nonfiction shelf.I especially like books that discuss the nastiness of the past that was hidden under the lie of the good old days and the veneer of respectability While perhaps fewer people committed truly heinous crimes a hundred or two hundred years ago, said crimes still occurred And it wasn t that people didn t cheat on each other or have multiple spouses or take drugs they did, it was just very hush hush I find all of this fascinating, particularly in light of the social climate that shaped how people hid and then reacted to the discovery of their crimes.So to tide me over until I could get my grabby paws on Dead Wake, Larson s newest book about the Lusitania, I requested Empire of Sin by Gary Krist First of all, the cover is pure Golden Age decadence Hubba.It promises sex Murder Jazz And, while Krist does discuss those elements, the story never coalesces into one lusciously decadent and sinful whole.Because there s no real plot, but just a chronological progression from then to now, it s rather hard for me to review nonfiction I m not a New Orleans scholar, or an expert on brothels, or the origins of jazz, but I would hope that Krist portrayed things accurately ish which is really all one can expect about any true story, since the truth belongs to those who tell it Here s how I ll grade it a good nonfiction writer doesn t make stuff up Krist falls into this category He dutifully records murders, madams, and the origins of Louis Armstrong A great nonfiction writer takes the drama inherent in every story and presents it in a way that grabs the modern reader He or she ties everything together at the end The stories Krist tells about the people of New Orleans are much interesting than the acutal book as a whole Krist tries to tackle a lot at once even throwing in an axe murderer, for pete s sake Yet, oddly enough for a book about the original Sin City, the narration comes off as prudish Krist talks about the Blue Book and how various brothels offered many services to their clientele, but doesn t tell us why they would be so shocking I m no fiend, but what makes these situations fascinating is how they are completely at odds with the morals of the times If I don t know what the women were doing, how am I supposed to figure out why people were so scandalized Once I hit the halfway point of the book, I kept hoping it would all be over soon Even a rushed return back to the axe murderer storyline didn t help any Imagine my relief when I realized how much of the book was actually endnotes Not a necessary read by any stretch of the imagination Krist fails to capture the spirit of New Orleans because he s too busy trying to juggle several disparate storylines. Advanced Reading Copy review Gary Krist s limited history of the city of New Orleans really only spans from about 1890 to the end of prohibition There are brief nods to the city s early history and current post Katrina rebuilding, but the emphasis is on the era of that neighborhood of vice known as Storyville Much like red light districts throughout the world, New Orleans progressive reformers thought that by limiting certain sinful activities to a defined area, the rest of the city would be shielded from their influence Sex for sale and the jazz music that attracted customers to the saloons and brothels are famous pieces of the heritage of New Orleans that attracts tourists today The murder part is less well known, but, as with all serial killers and Mafia style rub outs, it makes for engrossing reading.All the famous names you d expect are represented along with some surprises Though I wanted some details for some of the background stories, this book will serve well as both a beginner s guide to New Orleans history and a jazz lover s ode to the birth of a truly American sound. Subtitled A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder and the Battle for Modern New Orleans, this is a history of the city from 1890 1920 However, this is certainly not a dry book of facts it is as vibrant and fascinating at the city itself Acting very much as a link, the book begins with the murders, in 1918, of Italian grocers Joseph and Catherine Maggio These were the work of the infamous Axman and, in order to explain what led up to these events, we are then taken back to the beginning of 1890.The author skilfully weaves both a history of New Orleans and the battle the city had with crime and lawlessness In 1890 New Orleans was seen as distressingly exotic, morally corrupt and with intense racial divides We follow the stories of certain characters, such as Josie Lobrano, a brothel owner who craved respectability and did all she could to shield her young niece Anna from discovering the reality of how she made her money, Tom Anderson the unofficial mayor of Storyville, and musicians such as Buddy Bolden and Louis Armstrong Through their stories, and many others, we learn of the battle with the mafia, kidnappings, racial segregation, vice and the beginnings of jazz However, this is not a judgemental book in any way we sympathise with those whose livelihood was reliant on the sinful side of the city as well as the reformers.The book ends with the infamous spate of murders by the Axman, with families attacked as they slept and bringing fear to the city I found this a wonderful read, totally engrossing and full of fascinating characters and some truly shocking stories If you like this book, you may well also enjoy the excellent novel, The Axeman s Jazz, by Ray Celestin, which is a mystery set around the time of the Axman murders discussed in Empire of Sin. ^Free E-pub ✘ Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans ↲ From Bestselling Author Gary Krist, A Vibrant And Immersive Account Of New Orleans Other Civil War, At A Time When Commercialized Vice, Jazz Culture, And Endemic Crime Defined The Battlegrounds Of The Crescent City Empire Of Sin Re Creates The Remarkable Story Of New Orleans Thirty Years War Against Itself, Pitting The City S Elite Better Half Against Its Powerful And Long Entrenched Underworld Of Vice, Perversity, And Crime This Early Th Century Battle Centers On One Man Tom Anderson, The Undisputed Czar Of The City S Storyville Vice District, Who Fights Desperately To Keep His Empire Intact As It Faces Onslaughts From All Sides Surrounding Him Are The Stories Of Flamboyant Prostitutes, Crusading Moral Reformers, Dissolute Jazzmen, Ruthless Mafiosi, Venal Politicians, And One Extremely Violent Serial Killer, All Battling For Primacy In A Wild And Wicked City Unlike Any Other In The World