You know I was really prepared to love Mike Dash’s Satan’s Circus when I brought it at Borders (paid full price too). Which is why I feel perfectly fine trashing it now! No honestly, it’s an OK book.
Satan's Circus was one of the more salacious terms for New York City's turn of the century tenderloin district. I was hoping for a spicier telling of Charles Becker's sad story. The inside flap promises that Satan's Circus brings to life an almost forgotten Gotham. However, this book like all good history books is well researched but not spicy. Dash does an excellent job of dramatizing the role that the press plays in Becker's downfall. I think this book would serve as a good primer for anyone not acquainted with the Becker case. The NYC policeman was executed because his death was convenient for a lot of people. Becker wasn't a saint, not by a long shot but he didn't deserve to be executed even by the lax standards of his day.