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National Geographic Adventure

Mike Dash


"Truly thrilling... Stories big enough and exciting enough to hold anyone to the page."

   National Geographic


"Scholarly work only lightly wearing its erudition... His vivid prose sets out to entertain."

   Asian Review of Books

"A British historian whose capacity for research appears to be limitless. Dash has dug into tons of material and emerged with what seems likely to be the definitive work for years to come."

   Washington Post

New York Times  best-seller

New York Times  best-seller

History with all the INTERESTING bits left in

I’m probably in love with my subject just a bit too much. I read history at Cambridge and went on to complete a PhD back in 1990. Since then I’ve enjoyed an eclectic career as a journalist, magazine publisher and author, in the course of which I’ve written five heavily-researched books – Tulipomania, Batavia’s Graveyard, Thug, Satan’s Circus and The First Family. I've also run the Smithsonian's history blog.


Oh, and I live in London with my wife and daughter in a house stuffed with something like 3,000 books – about a third of which I’ve actually read all the way through.

I don’t know why people always ask me about that, but they do.



"Shows how history, when it is well-written and well researched, leaves today's trendy servings of fact mulched with fiction for dead."

The Australian

"From a Stevenson or a Golding, this would be a thrilling yarn; this time it’s true, and it freezes the blood."

   Sunday Telegraph

The Dutch merchant ship Batavia is already seething with mutiny and discontent when she runs aground on an uncharted reef in the Indian Ocean.


Abandoned by their commander, the 280 men, women and children who survive the wreck find themselves stranded on a tiny island and at the mercy of the second-in-command: Jeronimus Cornelisz, the Batavia's silk-tongued under-merchant.


Over the next three terrible months, Jeronimus will reveal himself to be among the great monsters of history...

The Australian coast, 1629...

The First Family is Mike’s outstanding history of the birth of the American Mafia.


Gripping, vivid, fast-paced, and yet painstakingly researched, the book follows the United States' first boss of bosses, Giuseppe Morello, from his Sicilian birthplace to New York as he and his murderous family scrabble their way out of the Italian slums to control of organised crime throughout the country.


Ranged against the ruthless Morello family are the police and Secret Service agents who have sworn to stop them. Who lives? Who dies? Read on to find out more...

"A first-rate book, written in lively, lucid prose, with a strong narrative line and a wealth of anecdote, much of it gory."

   Washington Post

The world's first and strangest asset bubble inflated not in the Britain of the nineteenth century or the America of the twentieth, but in the Netherlands of the 1630s. And the focus of speculation was not gold or land, but a beautiful stranger: the tulips that had been introduced to Europe from Asia just a handful of years earlier.

Grounding its investigation in the rise of the world's first modern economy – but also in the vivid social history of the times – Tulipomania sets out to explain how a people known for their conservatism and caution could lose their heads over a flower, to the extent that a handful of the most valuable bulbs could change hands for the price of a house...  

"A fascinating exploration of human greed and self-delusion – and also a tribute to our ageless search for beauty. A compulsive read."

   Deborah Moggach in 

   The Literary Review

The Netherlands, 1637...
Corleone, Sicily, 1889...
New York, 1912...

They called it Satan’s Circus—a square mile of Midtown Manhattan where depravity danced in every doorway. At the turn of the twentieth century, it was a place where everyone from the chorus girls to the beat cops was on the take: a place where an upstanding young policeman like Charley Becker could become the crookedest cop who ever stood behind a shield.  

With appearances by the legendary and the notorious—including Big Tim Sullivan, the election-rigging vice lord of Tammany Hall, future president Theodore Roosevelt and the newly-famous author Stephen Crane, Satan’s Circus brings to life a forgotten, very different Gotham – a raucous, gaudy, utterly corrupt city – and the two sensational murder trials that landed Becker in the electric chair...

"Outshadows any noir master’s contrivance. Dash’s depiction brings a fantastic backdrop and Charley Becker’s fall from grace into ripping yarn focus. A tour de force of scholarship and entertaining storytelling."

   Boston Phoenix

India, 1830...

Never in recorded history has there been a group of murderers as deadly as the Thugs. For nearly two centuries, groups of these lethal criminals haunted the roads of India, slaughtering travellers whom they met along the way with such efficiency that, over the years, thousands of men, women and children vanished without trace.


Painstakingly researched and grippingly written, Thug tells, for the first time the full story of the gangs' rise and fall, from their murderous beginnings in the seventeenth century to their controversial demise at the hands of British East India Company officer William Sleeman during the 1830s.

"Excellently written and well-researched… For those interested in the wilder shores of human experience, Thug is an invaluable guide."

   Peter Ackroyd in 

   The Times

‘Fascinating and immensely readable.’
Times Literary Supplement
"Mike Dash has carved a fine place for himself among historians of the hauntingly bizarre."
Andrew Roberts
‘Storming narrative grounded in historical and political detail… the thrillerish pace is kept up throughout.’
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