Vanishing Point: The Disappearance of Judge Crater, and the New York He Left Behind (Hardcover)
The sudden disappearance of Judge Joseph Crater nearly 75 years ago led to perhaps the most famous missing persons case of the twentieth century. Crater, a justice of New York's state Supreme Court, vanished amid political scandal. Within days, questions arose about Judge Crater's finances and his liaisons with numerous women. A public frenzy about what happened to Crater provided impetus for scrutiny of New York's Tammany Hall political machine--and ultimately for the vanishing of Tammany Hall as well. The cast of characters in this book--the first-ever serious look at the Crater case--includes Franklin D. Roosevelt, the governor who named Crater to the bench; Senator Robert Wagner, Crater's mentor, but also the leader with the most to lose from having Crater found; Al Smith, Tammany's ebbing leader and failed presidential candidate; Jimmy Walker, the rogue Mayor of New York City and the darling of Tammany Hall; and Fiorello La Guardia, the crusading reformer who finally came to power on the back of the scandals. Richard J. Tofel's Vanishing Point is a revealing look at New York as the Jazz Age gave way to the Depression, and at one of the most intriguing stories in the annals of urban America.
Richard J. Tofel is president and chief operating officer of the new International Freedom Center, a museum of freedom and a cultural center to be built at the site of the World Trade Center. Formerly assistant publisher of the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Tofel is a graduate of Harvard College, the Harvard Law School, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Before the publication of Vanishing Point, Tofel wrote A Legend in the Making, a book about the 1939 Yankees. He recently published Sounding the Trumpet, a fascinating look into the making of Kennedy's inaugural address, also published by Ivan R. Dee. He lives with his family in Riverdale, New York.