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At the start of the 20th century Theodore Davis was the most famous name in archaeology in the world; his career turned tomb-robbing and treasure-hunting into a science. A quintessentially American rags-to-riches tale, the story is of the dizzying rise of a poor country preacher’s son who through corruption and fraud won tremendous wealth in Gilded Age New York and then atoned for his ruthless career by inventing new standards for systematic excavation and discovering a record 18 tombs in the Valley.
A confederate of Boss Tweed, friend of Teddy Roosevelt and rival of J.P. Morgan, the colorful “American Lord Carnarvon” shared his Newport mansion with his Rembrandts, his wife and his mistress. Drawing on rare and never before published archival material, the first biography of Davis ever written rehabilitates a tarnished image through a thrilling tale of crime, adventure and history.