Dark Harbor by Nathan Ward
The War for the New York Waterfront

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What if the world of the old New York waterfront was as violent and mob-controlled as it appears in Hollywood movies? Well, it really was, and the story of its downfall, told here in high style by Nathan Ward, is the original New York mob story.

New York Sun reporter Malcolm “Mike” Johnson was sent to cover the murder of a West Side boss stevedore and discovered a “waterfront jungle, set against a background of New York’s magnificent skyscrapers” and providing “rich pickings for criminal gangs.” Racketeers ran their territories while doubling as union officers, from the West Side’s “Cockeye” Dunn, who’d kill for any amount of dock space, to Jersey City’s Charlie Yanowsky, who controlled rackets and hiring until he was ice-picked to death.

Johnson’s hard-hitting investigative series won a Pulitzer Prize, inspired a screenplay by Arthur Miller, and prompted Elia Kazan’s Oscar-winning film On the Waterfront. And yet J. Edgar Hoover denied the existence of organized crime - even as the government’s dramatic hearings into waterfront misdeeds became mustsee television.

Nathan Ward tells this archetypal crime story as if for the first time, taking the reader back to a city, and an era, at once more corrupt and more innocent than our own.


About Nathan Ward

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Nathan Ward, who was an editor with American Heritage, has written for The New York Times and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, not far from the Red Hook piers.
Published June 2, 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 284 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Former American Heritage editor Ward reveals the seedy history of the old New York waterfront, a brutal, dangerous environment ruled by corrupt union officials and the mob.

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Dark Harbor: The War for the ...

The New York Times

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A history of Malcolm Johnson’s Pulitzer-winning reporting on the New York waterfront, which inspired the Marlon Brando classic.

Sep 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Dark Harbor: The War for the ...

AV Club

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This history of the turf wars over the New York waterfront covers ground that inspiredOn The Waterfront, but with more veracity and less visceral interest.

Jul 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Dark Harbor: The War for the ...


Evenchick, a partner of the Roseland law firm of Walder, Hayden & Brogan P.A., is the New Jersey commissioner of the New York and New Jersey Waterfront Commission.

Jun 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Dark Harbor: The War for the ...

Book Forum

From the boozy, crusading priest in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, to Malcolm "Mike" Johnson, the New York Sun's journalist-hero, to death by Murder Inc.'s ice pick, the New York City waterfront's native criminality has been both root and branch of many enduring urban tropes.

Jun 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Dark Harbor: The War for the ...

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