“They’d never kill a reporter....” On the morning of April 29, 1948, a West Side pier hiring boss was shot on his way to work. The murder reminded the New York Sun’s city editor of a similar docks killing from the year before, and so he called over his best general assignment man, Malcolm “Mike” Johnson, telling him, “Lots of unrest down there. Maybe you can get a story out of it.” Johnson certainly did, discovering the greatest story of his long career, and a “waterfront jungle” with “rich pickings for criminal gangs.” His crime series ran on the Sun’s front page for twenty-four days in the fall of 1948, raising a national scandal and bringing death threats on him and his family. Johnson alleged the existence of an international crime “syndicate,” at a time when J. Edgar Hoover would not admit that such a syndicate, let alone a Mafia, existed.
Herein, Nathan Ward tells the original Mob story, “revealing a spiderweb of union corruption and outright gangsterism....His story has everything” (New York Sun), making Dark Harbor a modern true crime classic.
“Meticulous reporting, a keen eye for detail, and an elegant writing style...terrific.” —Jonathan Eig, The New York Times Book Review
“True crime done right, sharply researched and written with an economy of language...as atmospheric as a two a.m. stroll down the wharf on a late October night.” —Allen Bara, The Daily Beast
“Brilliant.” —New York magazine
“Riveting.” —New York Post
“This gritty examination of the corrupt New York City waterfront...has all of the local color, rich detail, and notorious gangland figures of Elia Kazan’s film masterpiece, On the Waterfront. Extremely valuable to all interested in twentieth-century New York City.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)“Nathan Ward's elegant and affectionate visit to gangster New York in the 1940s is excellent true crime and true histroy. Dark Harbor goes on the shelf next to Joseph Mitchell and A.J. Liebling.” —Alan Furst, author of Night Soldiers