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The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief Paperback – Apr 5 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (April 5 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307886468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307886460
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #165,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Fascinating...a brisk, lively, colorful biography of an amazing criminal."
--The New York Times

"Adam Worth, the greatest thief of the 19th century, could have furnished the basis of a great novel...Ben Macintyre has given him a biography that reads like one."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review

A New York Times Notable Book

About the Author

BEN MACINTYRE is a writer-at-large for The Times of London and the bestselling author of A Spy Among Friends, Double Cross, Operation Mincemeat, Agent Zigzag, The Napoleon of Crime, and Forgotten Fatherland, among other books. Macintyre has also written and presented BBC documentaries of the wartime espionage trilogy.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like all of the author's books - it was almost impossible to put this book down and I was sorry when I'd finished it! Although the author gives very detailed explanations about the subject matter, reading it on an iPad was helpful because many of the people and things mentioned in the book lead to further happy reading on the Internet. The relationship between Pinkerton and Worth was well presented and if anyone thinks that sort of relationship is strange or impossible I can tell you from experience that it happens.
Thanks again Ben Macintyre!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars 59 reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Moriarty April 26 2011
By John D. Cofield - Published on
Format: Paperback
Ben Macintyre can always be counted on to tell a fascinating story, and he is in his element here with this history of the notorious 19th century criminal Adam Worth. If a novelist made up Adam Worth's story he or she would be criticized for having too vivid an imagination that conjured up too many implausible scenarios.

Adam Worth's career began during the American Civil War, when he faked his own death and deserted. Possessed of high intellignece and great charm, he was able to insinuate himself into the hearts and minds of many criminal associates, both male and female, and quickly became a leader in the underworld not only in the US but also in Europe. A one man Mafia, he had his fingers in many crooked pies while cultivating a persona that allowed him to be accepted as a gentleman in London, Paris, and New York.

This is also the story of William Pinkerton, the celebrated detective who worked for years to bring Worth down and became in some ways his friend and associate. And it is the story of Worth's greatest crime, the theft of the celebrated Gainsborough portrait of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Worth stole the painting in 1876 and kept it with him the rest of his life, refusing to part with it even when offered clemency for his other crimes in exchange.

Adam Worth is the man upon whom Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based the character of Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' great enemy. The story of Worth's cunning and bravado, as well as that of Pinkerton and the other law enforcement officials who sought to capture him, is as captivating as any novel.
1.0 out of 5 stars Exrtremely dry Aug. 21 2016
By John S. - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was only able to make it through five chapters. Usually I don't quit a book that I`ve started bit I just couldn't take any more of this book. It is extremely dry and the author goes into excruciating details about every person during this time period except the subject of the book. In the beginning the author states there isn't much known about Adam Worth and after reading five chapters I still don't know anything about him. I don't know how this book got such good reviews but there are too many good books out there, don't waste your time and money on this one.
5.0 out of 5 stars If they ever make a movie of this one, Pierce Brosnan must be cast in the title role! June 20 2016
By Miller. - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Macintyre lives up to his well-earned reputation with this one. He has become one of my top ten authors. His research for "ancient" biography is amazing. The characters come alive as does their action. There are chills and spills and many laughs as the story develops. It's a very good read about a master thief whose antics are often quite unexpected but never life-threatening. He exhibits leadership and a gentlemanly approach toward everyone including his arch rival with whom he occasionally sits and has a pleasant chat. You'll have fun with this one!
3.0 out of 5 stars Moriarity - Really? Aug. 19 2016
By Hobo Eddy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Too much of this book was devoted to Macintyre salesmanship. So much wasted effort trying to show Worth as the inspiration for Moriarity was just promotion. If Worth was the inspiration for a fictional character it was more likely Raffles, the cracksman created by E.W. Hornung, Conan Doyle's brother-in-law and IMHO, a more careful author than Conan Doyle, who would have us believe that Holmes could tell a bicycle's direction of travel by its tire prints and who had people visiting Buckingham Palace centuries before its existence.
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading without the speculaion about Worth July 21 2016
By J. Williams - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This tale is certainly interesting but spends an inordinate amount of time engaged in ridiculous speculation on Worth and the portrait he stole. It is a distraction and serves as an obvious filler as it is stretched out ad nauseam. One can imagine him sitting around masturbating while talking to the figure in the portrait.

I would have enjoyed more detail regarding some of the scams but overall found the account of the times and Worth quite interesting without the armchair analysis.