"An engaging look at an extraordinary man" says Booklist of Prince of Darkness.
Though now historically obscure, Jeremiah Hamilton, at his death, was the richest black man in America, worth more than $250 million in modern currency. Hamilton’s obscurity springs from more than the usual reasons that so little is written about the history of black Americans in the nation’s first centuries. Aside from the anomaly of being a wealthy black man in the particularly unwelcome landscape of Wall Street, Hamilton was no race hero. He started his career as a broker and ruthless investor by selling counterfeit Haitian currency in the chaos of its liberation. He went on to all manner of skulduggery, including railroad stock speculation and insurance fraud, often with the backing of wealthy white investors who sought to keep their names out of the papers. The black press disparaged Hamilton for his avaricious pursuit of money, even at the expense of other blacks. The author draws on a trove of public documents, including newspaper accounts and court documents, to offer a portrait of a relentlessly driven man. Despite the fact that Hamilton left no personal papers behind, White details his incredible life, marriage to a white woman, and contentious presence on Wall Street, in the process revealing the ways that historians reconstruct the past. An engaging look at an extraordinary man. — Vanessa Bush, Booklist