Wednesday, October 28, 2009

GANGSTERS OF MIAMI: True Tales of Mobsters, Gamblers, Hit Men, Con Men And Gang Bangers from the Magic City

Rising from a swampy flatland a little more than a century ago, Miami has grown to become a trend-setting metropolis known for tourism, fashion, nightlife and style. Miami is also the city of Hollywood's "Scarface" Tony Montana, television's Miami Vice and popular culture's "Cocaine Cowboy." Ron Chepesiuk's Gangsters of Miami (Barricade Books, November 2009) digs beyond the headlines and fantasy to provide a close up look at the real role that mobsters, gamblers, hit men, drug lords, con men and other gangsters have played in making America's youngest city also one of its most fascinating.

Known as the Magic City, Miami has always been the home for a colorful variety of gangsters. They include the notorious smugglers of the Prohibition era, such as Gertrude Lythgoe, Bill McCoy, James Horace Alderman, the Ashley Gang, and Red Shannon; famous mobsters like Al Capone and Meyer Lansky who helped make Miami a gambling Mecca, the Cuban Mafia and its syndicate, La Compania, led by godfathers Jose Battle Sr. and Jr.; the marijuana traffickers of the early and mid 1970s, most notably the legendary Black Tuna Gang; drug lords of the Medellin and Cali cartels and master minds of the cocaine explosion, such as Griselda Blanco, the so-called Black Widow Blanco, Pablo Escobar, the "King of Coke" and Gilberto and Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela; the Russian Mafia with colorful characters like Ludwig "Tarzan" Feinberg, who came to America after the fall of the Soviet Union; and the street gangs that plagued Miami after the advent of crack cocaine in the mid 1980s, led by such vicious gang bangers as Anthony "Little Bo" Fail and Corey "Bubba" Smith.

The book also provides details of headline making cases and characters like the tourist murders of the early 1990s, the Operation Swordfish money laundering investigation; the Yahweh Ben Yahweh investigation, the Don Aronow and James Callahan murders, the Andrew Cunanan murder of noted fashion designer Gianni Versace, and the rise and fall of Chris Paciello, the so-called "King of South Beach." Gangsters of Miami also investigates the police and governmental corruption that has plagued the Magic City since its early days.

Gangsters of Miami is a lively and well-documented account of Miami's gangs and gangsters, showing that fact can be more riveting than fiction. The praise for the book has been lavish:

Steve Morris, Publishers of the New Criminologist web site, said "Chepesiuk's aptitude for revealing the inner workings of organized crime within a community is once again on display here as the reader is cast into Miami's bloody underbelly. A remarkable achievement by the author."


Scott M. Dietche, author of The Silent Don: The Criminal Underworld of Santo Trafficante Jr. calls the book "one of the most complete looks at crime in South Florida."


Lew Rice, Former Special Agent in Charge, DEA and author of DEA Special Agent: My Life on the Front Line hailed Gangsters of Miami as a "must read for anyone interested in an historical and colorful account of crime in the Magic City."


Ron Chepesiuk, an award-winning investigative journalist, has been described as "the master of high octane journalism." He is the author of Gangsters of Harlem and Black Gangsters of Chicago, Drug Lords, a Fulbright Scholar, an adjunct professor in the journalism department of UCLA's Extension Division and a consultant to the History Channel's Gangland documentary series. He has also been interviewed by the Biography Channel, Discovery, the History Channel, Black Entertainment Television, and NBC's Dateline.

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