Thieves of Book Row: New York's Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Stopped It by Travis Mcdade

Thieves of Book Row: New York's Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Stopped It

byTravis Mcdade

Paperback | August 6, 2015

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No one had ever tried a caper like this before. The goods were kept in a secure room under constant scrutiny, deep inside a crowded building with guards at the exits. The team picked for the job included two old hands known only as Paul and Swede, but all depended on a fresh face, a kid fromPinetown, North Carolina. In the Depression, some fellows were willing to try anything - even a heist in the rare book room of the New York Public Library.In Thieves of Book Row, Travis McDade tells the gripping tale of the worst book-theft ring in American history, and the intrepid detective who brought it down. Author of The Book Thief and a curator of rare books, McDade transforms painstaking research into a rich portrait of Manhattan's Book Row inthe 1920s and '30s, where organized crime met America's cultural treasures in dark and crowded shops along gritty Fourth Avenue. Dealers such as Harry Gold, a tough native of the Lower East Side, became experts in recognizing the value of books and recruiting a pool of thieves to steal them - manyof them unemployed men who drifted up the Bowery or huddled around fires in Central Park's shantytowns. When Paul and Swede brought a new recruit into his shop, Gold trained him for the biggest score yet: a first edition of Edgar Allan Poe's Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems. Gold's recruit casedthe rare-book room for weeks, searching for a weakness. When he found one, he struck, leading to a breathtaking game of wits between Gold and NYPL special investigator G. William Bergquist. Both a fast-paced, true-life thriller, Thieves of Book Row provides a fascinating look at the history of crime and literary culture.

About The Author

Travis McDade is the author of The Book Thief: The True Crimes of Daniel Spiegelman and the curator of rare books at the University of Illinois College of Law. He teaches a class at the University of Illinois called "Rare Books, Crime and Punishment."

Details & Specs

Title:Thieves of Book Row: New York's Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Stopped ItFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:August 6, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190239719

ISBN - 13:9780190239718

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Prologue1. The Antics of the Leading Industrials2. The Accumulated Wisdom3. A Purloined Poe4. Scholarship and Investigation5. The Boston Scene6. Someone Qualified as a Bookman7. The People of the State of New York and their Dignity8. That's the End of the Rare BookEpilogueIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Thieves of Book Row chronicles a fascinating chapter in the history of the book trade, libraries, and organized crime. In a highly engaging narrative, McDade provides a wonderful portrait of books stolen and recovered and of many colorful characters ranging from rare book legends to pettythieves." --Thomas Hyry, Director of Special Collections, UCLA Library