After prodigious research, Professor Shane White rescues Jeremiah G. Hamilton from oblivion.” – The New York Times

”Historical detective work of the highest magnitude” — 2016 SHEAR Book Prize

“Superb scholarship and a sprightly style recover an unaccountably overlooked life.” ― Kirkus Review

In mid 19th century Wall Street, blacks were expected to carry goods, not buy and sell them.  But not Jeremiah Hamilton, a broker whose very existence flies in the face of our understanding of African American life in New York in the decades before and after the Civil War.

Far from being some novice on the fringes of the financial world, Jeremiah Hamilton was a Wall Street celebrity; a skilled and, at times, ruthless manipulator.

He wheeled and dealed in the lily white business world, married a white woman, bought a mansion in rural New Jersey, and owned railroad stock on trains he was not allowed legally to ride.

He outsmarted his white contemporaries and roused their ire.

Jeremiah Hamilton was "perhaps the most finished villain the city ever harbored", railed one commentator. He brazenly "assumed the privileges of a white man", seethed another. Outraged by his audacity, the penny press branded him the "Prince of Darkness."

Prince of Darkness is a groundbreaking and vivid account of Jeremiah Hamilton's remarkable life. For the first time, historian Shane White reveals the larger than life story of a man who defied every convention of his time.


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SHANE WHITE is the Challis Professor of History, an Australian Professorial Fellow and a Research Associate of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney specializing in African American history. He has authored or co-authored five previous books, including most recently Playing the Numbers (2010). Each of these earlier works won at least one major prize for excellence from institutions as varied as the American Historical Association and the American Library Association. He lives in Sydney, Australia.