An intriguing episodic account of true crime and survival on New York’s outer edges.


A compilation of The New York Sun’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 1948-49 series, which uncovered widespread corruption and violence affecting the longshoremen who toiled along the city's crime-ridden waterfront.

Written by investigative reporter Johnson, “Crimes on the Waterfront” exposed the racketeering that had crept like cancer through the shipping trade and threatened the lives of blue-collar Gothamites. Crooked hiring bosses, loaders and stevedores outnumbered the honest longshoremen, who in order to stay employed were forced to take loans from shark bosses, pay steep kickbacks, ignore pilfering and keep their mouths shut or end up dead under a pier. Local corruption had a direct effect on the city’s economy as prices soared and shippers avoided New York like the pirate’s cove it was. Though allegations of communist sympathies and death threats were made against Johnson and his family, the series prompted a reformation of the local shipping trade and served as the basis for Budd Schulberg’s most famous screenplay. The volume at hand reprints the series with a foreword from Johnson’s son Haynes (also a Pulitzer winner) and an introduction by Schulberg, as well as additional articles by the screenwriter on the same subject. Johnson, who died in 1976, is fearless in his coverage of those most affected by the criminal activity, making these articles a saga of racketeering and the everyman. Soaked in the vernacular of the late 1940s, his prose offers a strictly factual interpretation of the issues. The series remains as it first appeared in The Sun, so reading individual articles in succession becomes somewhat repetitive due to the unavoidable refreshers intended for the original newspaper readership. Framed by Schulberg’s more cinematic articles depicting life on the waterfront with plenty of individual portraiture, Johnson’s series gains an associative literary texture that fleshes out this seriously roughneck subject.

An intriguing episodic account of true crime and survival on New York’s outer edges.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-59609-013-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Chamberlain Bros./Penguin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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