The Chicago Syndicate: Gangbuster: One Man's Battle Against Crime, Corruption, and the Klan

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Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Gangbuster: One Man's Battle Against Crime, Corruption, and the Klan

As gripping as it is prescient, Gangbuster: One Man's Battle Against Crime, Corruption, and the Klan, is the first-ever history of the battle waged by one rookie District Attorney, Philip Van Cise, against the KKK, organized crime, and government corruption at the highest levels throughout the 1920s. One century later, in the face of contemporary society’s divisiveness and fearmongering politics, the personal courage of this maverick’s battle against underworld figures and a mainstream white supremacist movement is more relevant and inspiring than ever.

At the height of the roaring 1920s, the ex-frontier town of Denver, Colorado, emerged from the postwar boom as the future of the American city. But the slick fa├žade of progress and opportunity masked a murky stew of organized crime, elaborate swindles, and widespread government corruption. One man risked everything to alter the course of history.

Rookie district attorney Philip Van Cise was already making national headlines for a new brand of law enforcement. Employing military intelligence tools he’d developed during the Great War—wiretapping, undercover operatives, communication intercepts—Van Cise crippled the criminal empire of Lou Blonger, an ex-lawman who had risen from petty scam artist to master of the Big Con. But Van Cise had even darker, more malevolent forces on his radar.

The Ku Klux Klan had emerged as a shockingly mainstream middle-class movement, employing anti-immigration scare tactics, encouraging vigilantism, and instigating culture wars, all while claiming to protect true American values. Van Cise saw the toxic ideology for what it was: a new version of the Big Con sold as populism. Utilizing his pioneering surveillance techniques, Van Cise was determined to expose the Invisible Empire from within.

Gripping and exhaustively researched, this prescient chronicle of Philip Van Cise’s spectacular career as a feared gangbuster taking on organized crime, the KKK, and corruption at the highest levels of government is a cautionary tale that mirrors our tumultuous times


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