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Jammies

Jammies' books

This is the blog of a bossy, opinionated sock zombie who loves to read and has really great nails.
Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans - Gary Krist

 

H.L. Mencken once said, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."  However, I think Mr. Krist took that a bit too much as gospel, because throughout the book, he added editorial interjections to quotes that were perfectly understandable in their contemporary language.  Give your reader a bit of credit, Mr. Krist, please.  

 

In addition, the words "Sicilian" and "Italian" are not interchangeable.  All Sicilians are Italian, but not all Italians are Sicilian.

 

I also wish the back cover copy didn't refer to "dissolute jazzmen" because one of the points of the content was that the jazzmen were not particulary dissolute.

 

Stylistic quibbles aside, the book does a good job of introducing a large group of memorable characters and telling a great story about Storyville.  I learned a number of things I didn't know, including the fact that the reinvention of New Orleans' 'lurid past' as a tourist draw started in the 1920s.

 

Overall, a thorough and engaging look at a subject almost entirely new to me.

 

Disclaimer: free copy provided for review