The Chicago Syndicate: Book Recommendations
Showing posts with label Book Recommendations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Recommendations. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Siege: Trump Under Fire" is the Sequel to the Bombshell Bestseller "Fire and Fury" by Author @MichaelWolffNYC

Michael Wolff, author of the bombshell bestseller Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, once again takes us inside the Donald Trump presidency to reveal a White House under siege.

Michael Wolff — who enraged President Trump with his international bestseller "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," about pandemonium in the first-year White House — will be out June 4 with a sequel, "Siege: Trump Under Fire."

The book, "about a presidency that is under fire from almost every side," begins with Year 2 and ends with the delivery of the Mueller report. The publisher says: "'Siege: Trump Under Fire' reveals an administration that is perpetually beleaguered by investigations and a president who is increasingly volatile, erratic, and exposed."

"Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" sold more than 4 million copies in all formats worldwide, according to Henry Holt, which is publishing both books.

Publishing sources say "Siege: Trump Under Fire" is about what Wolff considers the insurmountable legal, personal and political challenges ahead of Trump — about everybody coming after him.

The publisher says Wolff interviewed 150 sources for the new book. We're told the two key groups of sources were former senior officials, and acquaintances outside the White House who talk to Trump at night and that more than two-thirds of the book's essential sources talked to Wolff again. Indeed, some of them sought him out, knowing he was working on what was being called "Fire and Fury II."

Wolff didn't seek an interview with Trump in an effort to avoid legal action that might delay the book. Trump threatened to sue to stop publication of "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," which he called a "phony book." That backfired and stoked sales.

With Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Michael Wolff defined the first phase of the Trump administration; now, in Siege: Trump Under Fire, he has written an equally essential and explosive book about a presidency that is under fire from almost every side. A stunningly fresh narrative that begins just as Trump’s second year as president is getting underway and ends with the delivery of the Mueller report, Siege reveals an administration that is perpetually beleaguered by investigations and a president who is increasingly volatile, erratic, and exposed.


Friday, May 03, 2019

Book Signing for Ghost: Secrets of an FBI Undercover Agent at @TheMobMuseum

INSIDE JOBS: SECRETS OF AN FBI UNDERCOVER AGENT

Date: May 9, 2019
Time: 7 p.m. in the Historic Courtroom
Cost: Free for Members or with Museum Admission

FBI Special Agent Michael R. McGowan (Retired) is the co – author, along with New York Times bestseller author Ralph Pezzullo, of the fascinating memoir tilted Ghost – My Thirty Years as an FBI Undercover Agent, recapping his more than 30 years of dedicated service within the FBI, the majority of which was spent working undercover against some of the most dangerous, sophisticated, and notorious criminal organizations and individuals throughout the world, having participated in excess of 50 FBI Undercover Operations. Ghost was released nationally on October 2, 2018, and was ranked #1 New Release on Amazon under Law Enforcement Biographies. In addition, the book’s film rights have now been optioned to Sylvester Stallone’s new production company, Balboa Productions, for development as a feature film.

For over 30 years, Special Agent McGowan successfully infiltrated the Italian LCN (La Cosa Nostra/”The Mob”) and Russian Organized Crime groups, Mexican drug cartels, Outlaw motorcycle gangs, contract murderers, and corrupt politicians, all resulting in significant arrests, seizures, and lengthy incarcerations. He has been recognized at the highest levels of the FBI and Department of Justice for his FBI UCO assignments, both domestically and internationally.

In the FBI’s-109 year history, Special Agent McGowan is the only FBI Agent with the following unique experiences: Successfully infiltrating three separate Mafia families – the Merlino/Luisi Philadelphia/Boston Family (1998-99); the Rhode Island faction of the Patriarca Family (2000-2005); and the Boston faction of the New England LCN (2008), resulting in the indictment and incarceration of one Boss, one UnderBoss, two capos, a national Union President, union officials, and dozens of LCN associates and soldiers. No other FBI Agent has infiltrated more than one LCN Family. Successfully infiltrating the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel and indicting the notorious head of the world’s most powerful Drug cartel organization and the most wanted fugitive in the world, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, and his Executive Management board – the only successful US law enforcement undercover penetration of the Sinaloa Cartel. Seized more than $15 million dollars of Cartel drugs without the expenditure of any FBI drug buy funds (2009-2012).

Successfully infiltrating two Pakistani heroin trafficking organizations on separate occasions resulting in the indictment and incarceration of a top five international drug baron and the seizure of over 100 kilograms of almost pure heroin, valued at $400 million dollars, again without the expenditure of any FBI drug buy funds. The combined seizures are ranked as two of the top, if not top, heroin seizures ever within the United States (1992-1994) and (1995-1996).

Falsely accused and investigated by the FBI of stealing $180 million dollars of drugs from a secured FBI evidence vault. Was interrogated with Miranda Warnings more than 20 times, had major case fingerprints taken in front of co-workers, and had his reputation and integrity temporarily destroyed by the false allegation. Later assisted in identifying the correct suspect. (1994).

In addition to the above FBI undercover assignments, Special Agent McGowan was also intimately involved in the 2001 “PENTBOM” 9/11 Boston investigation, and the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings investigation. Special Agent McGowan also served as an FBI SWAT Team member for more than 10 years, and prior to joining the FBI, served as a Police Detective/Police Officer for several years, and received commendations for his arrests on homicide, sexual assault, armed robbery, and other violent felony offenses.

In his post-FBI career after retiring in 2017, Special Agent McGowan continues to provide training and mentoring to new law enforcement undercover agents, and now also provides consultant and technical advising services to the entertainment industry. Special Agent McGowan recently served as the law enforcement consultant/technical advisor on the set of Equalizer 2, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington and Pedro Pascal. He is currently at work consulting and advising on other Fuqua Films development projects.

He is also at work on his second novel, Wrong Move , a James Michael Devonshane FBI fictional thriller series led by an unconventional, less-than-perfect but relentless FBI Agent battling not only the bad guys in the street but the internal and risk-averse forces within FBI management sitting inside safely behind their pristine desks. Special Agent McGowan lives in New England with his family and now fifth child, a 5-year-old badly behaved English Crème Golden Retriever.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Ghost: My Thirty Years as an FBI Undercover Agent

The explosive memoir of an FBI field operative who has worked more undercover cases than anyone in history.

Within FBI field operative circles, groups of people known as “Special” by their titles alone, Michael R. McGowan is an outlier. 10% of FBI Special Agents are trained and certified to work undercover. A quarter of those agents have worked more than one undercover assignment in their careers. And of those, less than 10% of them have been involved in more than five undercover cases. Over the course of his career, McGowan has worked more than 50 undercover cases.

In this extraordinary and unprecedented book, McGowan will take readers through some of his biggest cases, from international drug busts, to the Russian and Italian mobs, to biker gangs and contract killers, to corrupt unions and SWAT work. Ghost: My Thirty Years as an FBI Undercover Agent, is an unparalleled view into how the FBI, through the courage of its undercover Special Agents, nails the bad guys. McGowan infiltrates groups at home and abroad, assembles teams to create the myths he lives, concocts fake businesses, coordinates the busts, and helps carry out the arrests. Along the way, we meet his partners and colleagues at the FBI, who pull together for everything from bank jobs to the Boston Marathon bombing case, mafia dons, and, perhaps most significantly, El Chapo himself and his Sinaloa Cartel.

Ghost: My Thirty Years as an FBI Undercover Agent, is the ultimate insider's account of one of the most iconic institutions of American government, and a testament to the incredible work of the FBI.



Monday, April 15, 2019

Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law

By the one-time federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law, is an important overview of the way our justice system works, and why the rule of law is essential to our society. Using case histories, personal experiences and his own inviting writing and teaching style, Preet Bharara shows the thought process we need to best achieve truth and justice in our daily lives and within our society.

Preet Bharara has spent much of his life examining our legal system, pushing to make it better, and prosecuting those looking to subvert it. Bharara believes in our system and knows it must be protected, but to do so, we must also acknowledge and allow for flaws in the system and in human nature.
   
The book is divided into four sections: Inquiry, Accusation, Judgment and Punishment. He shows why each step of this process is crucial to the legal system, but he also shows how we all need to think about each stage of the process to achieve truth and justice in our daily lives.
   
Bharara uses anecdotes and case histories from his legal career--the successes as well as the failures--to illustrate the realities of the legal system, and the consequences of taking action (and in some cases, not taking action, which can be just as essential when trying to achieve a just result).
   
Much of what Bharara discusses is inspiring--it gives us hope that rational and objective fact-based thinking, combined with compassion, can truly lead us on a path toward truth and justice. Some of what he writes about will be controversial and cause much discussion. Ultimately, it is a thought-provoking, entertaining book about the need to find the humanity in our legal system--and in our society.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Former Acting Director Fires Back in "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump"

There is no love lost between Donald Trump and Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director (and, briefly, acting director) of the FBI.

During his campaign for president, Mr. Trump claimed that Mr. McCabe, who was in charge of investigating whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server compromised classified information and national security, had a conflict of interest. In exchange for a promise not to indict her, Mr. Trump maintained, Mrs. Clinton had directed Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to transfer $700,000 to the campaign coffers of Mr. McCabe’s wife, who was running for the Virginia state senate.

Mr. Trump continued his tweets against Andrew McCabe from the White House. Not surprisingly, Mr. McCabe believes the president is responsible for a finding by the inspector general that he “lacked candor on four separate occasions.” And for a decision by the attorney general to fire him — 26 hours before his scheduled retirement.

In “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” Mr. McCabe fires back. He devotes most of his book to a review of his career at the FBI, highlighting his role in combating the operations of Russian organized crime on American soil; investigating the Boston Marathon bombing; terrorist threats on New York City subways; the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya; Mrs. Clinton’s email server; Russian interference in the 2016 elections and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

Greater public knowledge of FBI activities, accomplishments and the constitutional constraints under which law enforcement agents operate is urgently necessary, Mr. McCabe emphasizes. By identifying the FBI and the CIA with the “Deep State,” declaring that their leaders are corrupt, incompetent and partisan, and taking the word of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un over experts he has appointed, Mr. Trump, Mr. McCabe asserts, is doing lasting damage to the intelligence-gathering services of the United States.

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump” is filled with examples, some familiar, some new, of Mr. Trump’s breaches of propriety and historical norms, lies, mean-spirited behavior and, most important, his interference with investigations, indictments and prosecutions by the Justice Department and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The president was upset, Mr. McCabe reveals, that James Comey was allowed to fly home from Los Angeles after he was fired as FBI director. He demanded that Mr. Comey be forbidden from entering the FBI building to clear out his office.

According to Mr. McCabe, Mr. Trump made the self-evidently unsubstantiated claim that “at least 80 percent” of FBI personnel had voted for him. He stated as well that “so many FBI people” had contacted him to say they were glad Mr. Comey was gone. Such contact, Mr. McCabe points out, would have violated White House policy. And, Mr. McCabe indicates, the president, who demands loyalty to him, asked, “Who did you vote for?”

Some readers, no doubt, will dismiss “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump” as an exercise in score settling. After all, it is obvious that Mr. McCabe is not a disinterested observer. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who fired Mr. McCabe, it is worth noting, are skewered in this book as well.

That said, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump” should be judged by the credibility (and, where possible, corroboration) of the analysis. And Mr. McCabe concludes with concerns (shared by many) that, in my judgment, should command the attention of readers across the political and ideological spectrum.

Donald Trump did not invent partisanship and polarization. But our country does seem more divided than it’s been for more than a century. And Mr. McCabe provides evidence to support his assertion that the president is “actively pushing” an agenda that encourages his supporters to identify themselves as “the real Americans,” stigmatize others and seek to lock them up, and accept as “facts” only information that is presented by their media outlets.

Mr. McCabe “would love to imagine a future in which we have righted the ship.” But other than endorsing traditional values — obedience to the Constitution, fairness, compassion, individual and institutional integrity, accountability, public service and diversity — he comes up empty. Perhaps we cannot begin until and unless we agree that the threat is real.

Thanks to Glenn Altschuler.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Untold Story of the Gangland Bloodbath That Brought Down Al Capone

Thanks to Art Bilek for sharing with us a deep account for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. It will make a nice addition to any Mobologist's library: The St. Valentine's Day Massacre: The Untold Story of the Gangland Bloodbath That Brought Down Al Capone.

During Prohibition, Chicago’s Beer Wars turned the city into a battleground, secured its reputation as gangster capital of the world, and laid the foundation for nationally organized crime. Bootlegger bloodshed was greater there than anywhere else.

The machine-gun murders of seven men on the morning of February 14, 1929, by killers dressed as cops became the gangland "crime of the century." Since then it has been featured in countless histories, biographies, movies, and television specials. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, however, is the first book-length treatment of the subject. Unlike other accounts, it challenges the commonly held assumption that Al Capone decreed the slayings to gain supremacy in the Chicago underworld. The authors assert the deed was a case of bad timing and poor judgment by a secret crew from St. Louis known to Capone’s mostly Italian mob as the "American boys."

The target of the murder squad was indeed Bugs Moran, but the "American boys," who were dressed as policemen and arrived in two bogus police cars, arrived early at the garage where the massacre took place. When no one in the garage would admit he was Bugs Moran, the bogus cops stupidly killed them all. Much of the evidence to this effect emerged shortly after the massacre but was deftly ignored by law enforcement officials. It began to resurface again in 1935 with a manuscript written by the widow of one of the gunmen and a lookout’s long-suppressed confession. Indeed, law enforcement tried very hard not to solve the crime, for under any rock the cops turned over there might be a politician, and under the St. Valentine’s Day rock they would have found several. In the end, the machine gun bullets heard ’round the world marked the beginning of the end for Al Capone.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Chicago Heights: Little Joe College, the Outfit, and the Fall of Sam Giancana

In this riveting true story of coming of age in the Chicago Mob, Charles “Charley” Hager is plucked from his rural West Virginia home by an uncle in the 1960s and thrown into an underworld of money, cars, crime, and murder on the streets of Chicago Heights.

Street-smart and good with his hands, Hager is accepted into the working life of a chauffeur and “street tax” collector, earning the moniker “Little Joe College” by notorious mob boss Albert Tocco. But when his childhood friend is gunned down by a hit man, Hager finds himself a bit player in the events surrounding the mysterious, and yet unsolved, murder of mafia chief Sam Giancana.

Chicago Heights: Little Joe College, the Outfit, and the Fall of Sam Giancana, is part rags-to-riches story, part murder mystery, and part redemption tale. Hager, with author David T. Miller, juxtaposes his early years in West Virginia with his life in crime, intricately weaving his own experiences into the fabric of mob life, its many characters, and the murder of Giancana.

Fueled by vivid recollections of turf wars and chop shops, of fix-ridden harness racing and the turbulent politics of the 1960s, Chicago Heights reveals similarities between high-level organized crime in the city and the corrupt lawlessness of Appalachia. Hager candidly reveals how he got caught up in a criminal life, what it cost him, and how he rebuilt his life back in West Virginia with a prison record.

Based on interviews with Hager and supplemented by additional interviews and extensive research by Miller, the book also adds Hager’s unique voice to the volumes of speculation about Giancana’s murder, offering a plausible theory of what happened on that June night in 1975.



Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts, and Swindles in American History is Another Winner from @NateHendley

The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts, and Swindles in American History, examines a broad range of infamous scams, cons, swindles, and hoaxes throughout American history―and considers why human gullibility continues in an age of easy access to information.


  • Explores figures such as "Yellow Kid" Weil, Charles Ponzi (from whom we get the term “Ponzi scheme”), Orson Welles, and Frank Abagnale, among others
  • Provides insight into human nature―gullibility being one aspect of it―throughout the ages, addresses the power of rumor and legend, and identifies the social conditions that have allowed some scams and hoaxes to flourish
  • Presents information that can serve academic research projects as well as fascinate and entertain general readers
  • Features the original stories behind the Hollywood movies The Sting, Catch Me If You Can, Argo, and American Hustle


In addition, The Big Con: Great Hoaxes, Frauds, Grifts, and Swindles in American History, looks at scams and scammers such as Bernie Madoff, online romance fraud, the Nigerian Prince email, disaster fraud, pyramid schemes, medical fakery and other forms of deceit.

Learn about the tricks of the conman trade and how old scams continue to flourish under new guises. Also learn how to avoid being duped by fraudsters.

Very readable. The Big Con is one of those books that you can pick up and start reading anywhere. There is an extensive bibliography at the back for further reading suggestions. Mr Hendley has done sceptics a genuine courtesy by assembling the history of frauds, cons, scams and hoaxes into one beautiful volume.” –The Miramichi Reader

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics by Chris Christie

Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics - by Chris Christie.

From the outspoken former governor, a no-holds-barred account of Chris Christie's rise to power through the bare-knuckle politics of New Jersey and his frank, startling insights about Donald Trump from inside the president's inner circle.

After dropping out of the 2016 presidential race, Chris Christie stunned the political world by becoming the first major official to endorse Donald Trump. A friend of Trump's for fifteen years, the two-term New Jersey governor understood the future president as well as anyone in the political arena--and Christie quickly became one of Trump's most trusted advisers. Tapped with running Trump's transition team, Christie was nearly named his running mate. But within days of Trump's surprise victory over Hillary Clinton, Christie was in for his own surprise: he was being booted out.

In Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics, Christie sets the record straight about his tenure as a corruption-fighting prosecutor and a Republican running a Democratic state, as well as what really happened on the 2016 campaign trail and inside Trump Tower. Christie takes readers inside the ego-driven battles for Trump's attention among figures like Steve Bannon, Corey Lewandowksi, Reince Priebus, Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Sessions, and Paul Manafort. He shows how the literal trashing of Christie's transition plan put the new administration in the hands of self-serving amateurs, all but guaranteeing the Trump presidency's shaky start. Christie also addresses hot-button issues from his own years in power, including what really went down during Bridgegate. And, for the first time, Christie tells the full story of the Kushner saga: how, as a federal prosecutor, Christie put Jared Kushner's powerful father behind bars--a fact Trump's son-in-law makes Christie pay for later.

Packed with news-making revelations and told with the kind of bluntness few politicians can match, Christie's memoir is an essential guide to understanding the Trump presidency.


Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics

Monday, January 07, 2019

Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker

They say in Vegas you can’t understand the town unless you understand Benny Binion — mob boss, casino owner, and creator of the World Series of Poker. Beginning as a Texas horse trader, Binion built a gambling empire in Depression-era Dallas. When the law chased him out of town, he loaded up suitcases with cash and headed for Vegas. The place would never be the same.

Dramatic as any gangster movie, Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker, draws readers into the colorful world of notorious mobsters like Clyde Barrow and Bugsy Siegel. Given access to previously classified government documents, biographer Doug J. Swanson provides the definitive account of a great American antihero, a man whose rise from thugdom to prominence and power is unmatched in the history of American criminal justice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

HANDSOME JOHNNY—The Life and Death of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin

A rich biography of the legendary figure at the center of the century’s darkest secrets: an untold story of golden age Hollywood, modern Las Vegas, JFK-era scandal and international intrigue from Lee Server, the New York Times bestselling author of Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing…

A singular figure in the annals of the American underworld, Johnny Rosselli’s career flourished for an extraordinary fifty years, from the bloody years of bootlegging in the Roaring Twenties--the last protégé of Al Capone—to the modern era of organized crime as a dominant corporate power. The Mob’s “Man in Hollywood,” Johnny Rosselli introduced big-time crime to the movie industry, corrupting unions and robbing moguls in the biggest extortion plot in history. A man of great allure and glamour, Rosselli befriended many of the biggest names in the movie capital—including studio boss Harry Cohn, helping him to fund Columbia Pictures--and seduced some of its greatest female stars, including Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe. In a remarkable turn of events, Johnny himself would become a Hollywood filmmaker—producing two of the best film noirs of the 1940s.

Following years in federal prison, Rosselli began a new venture, overseeing the birth and heyday of Las Vegas. Working for new Chicago boss Sam Giancana, he became the gambling mecca’s behind-the-scenes boss, running the town from his suites and poolside tables at the Tropicana and Desert Inn, enjoying the Rat Pack nightlife with pals Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. In the 1960s, in the most unexpected chapter in an extraordinary life, Rosselli became the central figure in a bizarre plot involving the Kennedy White House, the CIA, and an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro. Based upon years of research, written with compelling style and vivid detail, Handsome Johnny: The Life and Death of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin, is the great telling of an amazing tale.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Insane Chicago Way - the Untold History of Local Latino Gangs

You wanna be a punk gang member or do you wanna be a gangster? This guy there has his pants hanging off his ass—the gang member standing on the street corner. This guy there has got tunnel vision, only sees so far. . . . This guy here—the gangster . . . is going to all the fine restaurants and nightclubs and going to political fundraisers, getting things done."

These are the words of Sal Martino, or at least the man called "Sal Martino" in criminologist and author John Hagedorn's most recent book, The Insane Chicago Way (University of Chicago). Concealing Sal's identity was paramount.

"We had to be careful not to be seen together by anyone from the world of organized crime, gangs, the media, or law enforcement," Hagedorn explained in a musty Lakeview home lined with books and potted plants, where academics, students, activists, and onetime major gang chiefs gathered together to celebrate the publication of The Insane Chicago Way: The Daring Plan by Chicago Gangs to Create a Spanish Mafia.

Sal and Hagedorn met in seedy hotels and dingy restaurants with few customers in places far from the west-side neighborhood known as the Patch, where members of the local Mafia are known to reside. "We also met in private locked cubicles in libraries across the city. I registered under my name and almost always gave the reason for the meeting 'Law Enforcement.'"

In the privacy of those locked cubicles, Sal told Hagedorn stories he had never heard before. "Now, I'd been doing gang research for almost 30 years," Hagedorn told me. "I doubted that anything some guy I'd never heard of could say was something I hadn't heard many times before. I was wrong." Hagedorn later corroborated the facts with his own gang contacts. What began to take shape was the daring plan of gang leaders incarcerated in Statesville—Fernando "Prince Fernie" Zayas from the Maniac Latin Disciples, Anibal "Tuffy C" Santiago from the Insane Spanish Cobras, and David Ayala from the Two Sixers—to create a local Latino Mafia.

In 1989 they established one of the most structured gang organizations in Chicago: the Spanish Growth and Development (SGD). With a strict set of rules, dispute-mediating mechanisms, and exclusively Latino membership, SGD was driven by the urgent need to control bloodshed on the streets.

By 1990, murders had hit dizzying heights, with more than 40 shot in Humboldt Park alone. "Killing people and doing drive-by shootings is bad for business," Sal said. "All it does is bring the attention of law enforcement. When law enforcement has all eyes on you, no one can make any money. And there is billions and billions of dollars out there to be made."

In an effort to overcome deadly rivalries between Hispanic gangs, SGD created an intergang structure modeled after the Chicago Mafia. "The agenda was power," Sal explained. The Insane Chicago Way posits that the Mafia exerts a larger influence on contemporary gangs than law enforcement believes, mostly through a complex network of "associates" who act as middlemen between the two criminal organizations.

SGD members also infiltrated and corrupted the police, either by paying "bones," a percentage of drug profits, to cops, or by entering the CPD as double agents. "Gang researchers have largely avoided investigating police misconduct and official corruption," Hagedorn contends in his book. His detailed account of the guisos ("robbery of drug dealers") carried out by crooked police officer Joseph Miedzianowski and later by the CPD Special Operations Section is merely a glimpse of police corruption and its profound impact on gangs. "Without the cops, none of this stuff could happen," cracks the Don, a Mafia elder.

Hagedorn confesses that the book is partly an attempt to understand why SGD could not stop the rampant violence on the west side. "Police, the press, and the public all saw the carnage as irrational and basically about turf, revenge, or drugs," he writes in The Insane Chicago Way. The collapse of the SGD left in its wake fractured gangs and a breakdown in gang leadership. "I'm doing these juvenile life-without-parole cases," Hagedorn told me. "I got 100 kids coming back to Cook County Jail waiting for resentencing. And they can't believe the disorganization of gang members today. It is all up in the air. The structure has been broken."

I asked Hagedorn how his book was received by the gangs. "It has been making the rounds," he laughed. "Word on the street is I got it right."

Thanks to Annette Elliot.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Life + 99 Years - The Searing Story of Twisted and Amoral Minds

Nathan Leopold Jr. was half of the famed duo Leopold and Loeb, murderers of 14-year old Bobby Franks in 1924 on the south side of Chicago.

Life plus 99 Years, is an autobiographical work which commences with the day after Leopold's sentencing, and which was designed to ingratiate the author with the parole board. As such it is a fascinating multi-layered work - the reader has to work at keeping in mind that the writer was the perpetrator of a heinous crime made all the more horrendous by the fact that its only motivation was the thrill of the idea. A must read for anyone interested in the workings and effects of our criminal justice system.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Frank Sinatra and the Mob

"Sinatra and the Mob"

Frank Sinatra always denied his ties to the Mafia, and neither government investigators nor the press could make the rumors stick- until now. In an excerpt from their book, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan uncover the full extent of the immortal crooner's connections with Lucky Luciano and other infamous Mob figures.

Sinatra: The Life, by Anthony Summers & Robbyn Swan


Debut March 18, 1939.

In a studio on West 46th Street in New York City, a band was playing Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee." It was a simple place, a room with couches and lamps, hung with drapes to muffle the echo from the walls. This was a big day for the musicians, who were recording for the first time.

A skinny young man listened as they played. The previous night, at the Sicilian Club near his home in New Jersey, he had asked if he could tag along. Now, as the band finished playing, he stepped forward and spoke to the bandleader. "May I sing?" he asked.

The bandleader glanced at the studio clock to see if they had time left, then told the young man to go ahead. He chose "Our Love," a stock arrangement based on a melody from Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet. Standing at the rudimentary microphone, he launched into a saccharine lyric:

Our love, I feel it everywhere Our love is like an evening prayer ... I see your face in stars above, As I dream on, in all the magic of Our love.

Unseasoned, a little reedy, the voice was transmitted through an amplifier to a recording device known as a lathe. The lathe drove the sound to a needle, and the needle carved a groove on a twelve-inch aluminum-based lacquer disc. The result was a record, to be played on a turntable at seventy-eight revolutions per minute.

The bandleader kept the record in a drawer for nearly sixty years. He would take it out from time to time, with delight and increasing nostalgia, to play for friends. The music on it sounds tinny, a relic of the infancy of recording technology. Yet the disc is kept in a locked safe. The attorney for the bandleader's widow, an octogenarian on Social Security, says the singer's heirs have demanded all rights and the lion's share of any potential income derived from it, thus obstructing its release.

The disc is a valuable piece of musical history. Its tattered adhesive label, typed with an old manual machine, shows the recording was made at Harry Smith Studios, "electrically recorded" for bandleader Frank Mane. Marked "#1 Orig.," it is the very first known studio recording of the thousand and more that were to make that skinny young man the most celebrated popular singer in history. For, under "Vocal chor. by," it bears the immaculately handwritten legend: Frank Sinatra

A year after making that first record, at twenty-five, Sinatra told a new acquaintance how he saw his future. "I'm going to be the best singer in the world," he said, "the best singer that ever was."

A Family from Sicily

Io sono Siciliano ..." I am Sicilian.

At the age of seventy-one, in the broiling heat of summer in 1987, Frank Sinatra was singing, not so well by that time, in the land of his fathers. "I want to say," he told a rapt audience at Palermo's Favorita Stadium, "that I love you dearly for coming tonight. I haven't been in Italy for a long time-I'm so thrilled. I'm very happy."

The crowd roared approval, especially when he said he was Sicilian, that his father was born in Sicily. Sinatra's voice cracked a little as he spoke, and he looked more reflective than happy. At another concert, in the northern Italian city of Genoa, he had a joke for his audience. "Two very important and wonderful people came from Genoa," he quipped. "One ... Uno: Christopher Columbus. Due: mia Mamma ..."

This second crowd cheered, too, though a little less enthusiastically when he mentioned that his father was Sicilian. "I don't think," he said wryly, "that they're too thrilled about Sicilia." It was a nod to northern Italians' feelings about the island off the southernmost tip of the country. They look down on its people as backward and slothful, and because, as all the world knows, it is synonymous with organized crime. It is the island of fire and paradox, the dismembered foot of the leg of Italy. Sicily: at ten thousand square miles the largest island in the Mediterranean, a cornucopia of history that remains more remote and mysterious than anywhere in Europe.

The island's story has been a saga of violence. Its ground heaved to earthquakes, and its volcanoes spat fire and lava, long before Christ. Its population carries the genes of Greeks and Romans, of Germanic Vandals and Arabs, of Normans and Spaniards, all of them invaders who wrote Sicily's history in blood.

"Sicily is ungovernable," Luigi Barzini wrote. "The inhabitants long ago learned to distrust and neutralize all written laws." Crime was endemic, so alarmingly so that a hundred years ago the island's crime rate was said to be the worst in Europe. By then, the outside world had already heard the spectral name that has become inseparable from that of the island-Mafia.

The origin of that word is as much a mystery as the criminal brotherhood itself, but in Sicily "mafia" has one meaning and "Mafia"-with an upper case "M"-another. For the islanders, in Barzini's view, the word "mafia" was originally used to refer to "a state of mind, a philosophy of life, a concept of society, a moral code." At its heart is marriage and the family, with strict parameters. Marriage is for life, divorce unacceptable and impossible.

A man with possessions or special skills was deemed to have authority, and known as a padrone. In "mafia" with a small "m," those who lived by the code and wielded power in the community were uomini rispettati, men of respect. They were supposed to behave chivalrously, to be good family men, and their word was their bond. They set an example, and they expected to be obeyed.

The corruption of the code and the descent to criminality was rapid. Well before the dawn of the twentieth century, the Mafia with a capital "M," though never exactly an organization, was levying tribute from farmers, controlling the minimal water supply, the builders and the businessmen, fixing prices and contracts.

Cooperation was enforced brutally. Those who spoke out in protest were killed, whatever their station in life. The Mafia made a mockery of the state, rigging elections, corrupting the politicians it favored, and terrorizing opponents. From 1860 to 1924, not a single politician from Sicily was elected to the Italian parliament without Mafia approval. The island and its people, as one early visitor wrote, were "not a dish for the timid."

Frank Sinatra's paternal grandfather grew up in Sicily in the years that followed the end of foreign rule, a time of social and political mayhem. His childhood and early adult years coincided with the collapse of civil authority, brutally suppressed uprisings, and the rise of the Mafia to fill the power vacuum.

Beyond that, very little has been known about the Sinatra family's background in Sicily. The grandfather's obituary, which appeared in the New York Times because of his famous grandson, merely had him born "in Italy" in 1884 (though his American death certificate indicates he was born much earlier, in 1866). Twice, in 1964 and in 1987, Frank Sinatra told audiences that his family had come from Catania, about as far east as one can go in Sicily. Yet he told one of his musicians, principal violist Ann Barak, that they came from Agrigento on the southwestern side of the island. His daughter Nancy, who consulted her father extensively while working on her two books about his life, wrote that her great-grandfather had been "born and brought up" in Agrigento. His name, according to her, was John.

In fact he came from neither Catania nor Agrigento, was born earlier than either of the dates previously reported, and his true name was Francesco-in the American rendering, Frank.

Sicilian baptismal and marriage records, United States immigration and census data, and interviews with surviving grandchildren establish that Francesco Sinatra was born in 1857 in the town of Lercara Friddi, in the hills of northwest Sicily. It had about ten thousand inhabitants and it was a place of some importance, referred to by some as piccolo Palermo, little Palermo.

The reason was sulfur, an essential commodity in the paper and pharmaceutical industries, in which Sicily was rich and Lercara especially so. Foreign companies reaped the profits, however, and most locals languished in poverty. The town was located, in the words of a prominent Italian editor, in "the core territory of the Mafia." The town lies fifteen miles from Corleone, a name made famous by The Godfather and in real life a community credited with breeding more future American mafiosi than any other place in Sicily. It is just twelve miles from the Mafia stronghold of Prizzi-as in Prizzi's Honor, the Richard Condon novel about the mob and the film based on it that starred Jack Nicholson.

It was Lercara Friddi, however, that produced the most notorious mafioso of the twentieth century. Francesco Sinatra's hometown spawned Lucky Luciano. Luciano was "without doubt the most important Italian-American gangster," according to one authority, and "head of the Italian underworld throughout the land," according to a longtime head of the Chicago Crime Commission. One of his own lawyers described him as having been, quite simply, "the founder of the modern Mafia."

Luciano, whose real name was Salvatore Lucania, was born in Lercara Friddi in 1897. Old marriage and baptismal registers show that his parents and Francesco Sinatra and his bride, Rosa Saglimbeni, were married at the church of Santa Maria della Neve within two years of each other. Luciano was baptized there, in the same font as Francesco's first two children.

In all the years of speculation about Frank Sinatra's Mafia links, this coincidence of origin has remained unknown. Other new information makes it very likely that the Sinatras and the Lucanias knew each other. The two families lived on the same short street, the Via Margherita di Savoia, at roughly the same time. Luciano's address book, seized by law enforcement authorities on his death in 1962 and available today in the files of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, contains only two entries for individuals who lived in Lercara Friddi: one a member of his own family and the other a man named Saglimbeni, a relative of the woman Francesco Sinatra married. Even if the Sinatras and the Lucanias did not know each other, Luciano's later notoriety makes it certain that the Sinatra family eventually learned that they and the gangster shared the same town of origin. Kinship and origins are important in Italian-American culture, and were even more so in the first decades of the diaspora.

As a boy, Frank Sinatra could have learned from any of several older relatives that his people and Luciano came from the same Sicilian town. He certainly should have learned it from Francesco, who lived with Sinatra's family after his wife's death and often minded his grandson when the boy's parents were out.

Francesco, moreover, survived to the age of ninety-one, until long after Luciano had become an infamous household name and Frank Sinatra an internationally famous singer. Sinatra himself indicated, and a close contemporary confirmed, that he and his grandfather were "very close." Late in life, he said he had gone out of his way to "check back" on his Sicilian ties. And yet, as we have seen, he muddied the historical waters by suggesting that his forebears came from Sicilian towns far from Lercara Friddi.

That the Sinatra family came from the same town as a top mafioso was not in itself a cause for embarrassment. The reason for the obfuscation, though, may be found in the family involvement with bootlegging in Frank Sinatra's childhood and, above all, in his own longtime relationship with Luciano himself, the extent of which can now be documented for the first time.

* * *

There was only one school in Lercara Friddi, and few people there could read or write. Francesco Sinatra was no exception, but he did have a trade-he was a shoemaker. He married Rosa, a local woman his own age, when both were in their early twenties, and by the time they turned thirty, in 1887, the couple had two sons. As the century neared its close, thousands of Sicilians were going hungry, especially in the countryside. There were food riots, and crime was rampant.

In western Sicily, the Mafia's power had become absolute. Palermo, the island's capital, spawned the first capo di tutti capi, Don Vito, who would one day forge the first links between the Sicilian Mafia and the United States. His successor, Don Carlo, operated from a village just fourteen miles from Lercara Friddi. Some of the most notorious American mob bosses - Tony Accardo, Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana, Santo Trafficante - were, like Luciano, of western Sicilian parentage.

By 1889 Francesco and Rosa had moved to a working-class suburb of Palermo. Two more sons were born there, but died in infancy, possibly victims of the cholera epidemic that ravaged the neighborhood in the early 1890s. One and a half million Sicilians were to leave the island in the next twenty-five years, many going to Argentina and Brazil and, increasingly, to the United States.

Francesco Sinatra joined the exodus in the summer of 1900. At the age of forty-three, he said goodbye to Rosa and their surviving children-there were by now three sons and two daughters-and boarded a ship for Naples. There he transferred to the British steamer Spartan Prince, carrying a steerage ticket to New York. At Ellis Island, on July 6, he told immigration officials he planned to stay with a relative living on Old Broadway in Manhattan. He had $30 in his pocket.

Francesco found work, and soon had enough confidence to start sending for his family. His eldest son, Isidor, joined him in America, and Salvatore, just fifteen and declaring himself a shoemaker like his father, arrived in 1902. Rosa arrived at Christmas the following year, accompanied by Antonino, age nine, and their two daughters, Angelina and Dorotea, who were younger. Antonino-Anthony Martin or Marty, as he would become in America-was to father the greatest popular singer of the century.

The Statue of Liberty smiled, Frank Sinatra would say in an emotional moment forty years later, when his father "took his first step on Liberty's soil." For many Italian newcomers, however, the smile proved illusory.

(Continues...)

Copyright 2005 Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan
All right reserved.
ISBN: 0-375-41400-2


Wednesday, October 03, 2018

THE MAFIA: Mafia Wars, Mafia Gangs and the Origins of Organized Crime

THE MAFIA: Mafia Wars, Mafia Gangs and the Origins of Organized Crime.

If ever a comparison had to be made with the Mafia, it would be in the shape of the government who seek to dominate and control the human pullets who reside and fluctuate in rising and increasing numbers around the world: there is a separate system, way of living, rules to adhere, policies to be followed, allies that are fashioned, societies, political parties, education and more. The mafia’s around the globe, I’m talking California, Los Angeles, Mexico, Russia, Sicily, America, Europe, China, Japan, Columbia, Mexico, New York, Africa, Asia, and wherever - else gang affiliation may be present, is stocked in a box full of redemption for the prison like estates that leave the poor – poorer and the rich – richer. It’s like an urban act of political reverberation. The noise is to awaken the injustice and signal a message to those in their community perimeters. The map of Los Angeles has been marked in a color coded print to highlight the hundreds and thousands of gangs that inhabit its southern outskirts, and not just it’s outskirts, but farther east with places like Culver City and Santa Monica having small interferences with the Crips. This book looks at Mafia families and gangs across the world, their rise to power, and their ultimate criminal abuses and wicked deeds.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodard is Officially Released Tomorrow #Crazytown

THE INSIDE STORY ON PRESIDENT TRUMP, AS ONLY BOB WOODWARD CAN TELL IT

With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward, one of the most revered and well-respected journalists in American history, reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.

Fear: Trump in the White House, is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office.

The book details aides of Trump as they try to deal with Trump's behavior. According to the book, aides took papers off of his desk to prevent him from signing them. White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly referred to Trump as an "idiot" and "unhinged", while Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Trump has the understanding of "a fifth or sixth grader," and John M. Dowd, formerly Trump's personal lawyer, called him "a fucking liar" telling Trump he would wear an "orange jump suit" if he agreed to testify to Robert Mueller in the Special Counsel investigation.

The book is based on hundreds of hours of recorded interviews with firsthand sources, contemporaneous meeting notes, files, documents and personal diaries".

Friday, August 10, 2018

Omarosa - Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House - Reputedly Backed by Secret Recordings

The former Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison in the Trump White House, Omarosa Manigault Newman, provides an eye-opening look into the corruption and controversy of the current administration.

Few have been a member of Donald Trump’s inner orbit longer than Omarosa Manigault Newman. Their relationship has spanned fifteen years—through four television shows, a presidential campaign, and a year by his side in the most chaotic, outrageous White House in history. But that relationship has come to a decisive and definitive end, and Omarosa is finally ready to share her side of the story in this explosive, jaw-dropping account.

A stunning tell-all and takedown from a strong, intelligent woman who took every name and number, Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House, is a must-read for any concerned citizen.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Good Mothers: The Story of the Three Women Who Took on the World's Most Powerful Mafia #Ndrangheta

The electrifying, untold story of the women born into the most deadly and obscenely wealthy of the Italian mafias – and how they risked everything to bring it down.

The Calabrian Mafia—known as the ’Ndrangheta—is one of the richest and most ruthless crime syndicates in the world, with branches stretching from America to Australia. It controls seventy percent of the cocaine and heroin supply in Europe, manages billion-dollar extortion rackets, brokers illegal arms deals—supplying weapons to criminals and terrorists—and plunders the treasuries of both Italy and the European Union.

The ’Ndrangheta’s power derives from a macho mix of violence and silence—omertà. Yet it endures because of family ties: you are born into the syndicate, or you marry in. Loyalty is absolute. Bloodshed is revered. You go to prison or your grave and kill your own father, brother, sister, or mother in cold blood before you betray The Family. Accompanying the ’Ndrangheta’s reverence for tradition and history is a violent misogyny among its men. Women are viewed as chattel, bargaining chips for building and maintaining clan alliances and beatings—and worse—are routine.

In 2009, after one abused ’Ndrangheta wife was murdered for turning state’s evidence, prosecutor Alessandra Cerreti considered a tantalizing possibility: that the ’Ndrangheta’s sexism might be its greatest flaw—and her most effective weapon. Approaching two more mafia wives, Alessandra persuaded them to testify in return for a new future for themselves and their children.

A feminist saga of true crime and justice, The Good Mothers: The Story of the Three Women Who Took on the World's Most Powerful Mafia, is the riveting story of a high-stakes battle pitting a brilliant, driven woman fighting to save a nation against ruthless mafiosi fighting for their existence. Caught in the middle are three women fighting for their children and their lives. Not all will survive.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Where the Mob Bodies, Bootleggers and Blackmailers are Buried in the Lurid History of Chicago’s Prohibition Gangsters

In 1981, an FBI team visited Donald Trump to discuss his plans for a casino in Atlantic City. Trump admitted to having ‘read in the press’ and ‘heard from acquaintances’ that the Mob ran Atlantic City. At the time, Trump’s acquaintances included his lawyer Roy Cohn, whose other clients included those charming New York businessmen Antony ‘Fat Tony’ Salerno and Paul ‘Big Paul’ Castellano.

‘I’ve known some tough cookies over the years,’ Trump boasted in 2016. ‘I’ve known the people that make the politicians you and I deal with every day look like little babies.’ No one minded too much. Organised crime is a tapeworm in the gut of American commerce, lodged since Prohibition. The Volstead Act of January 1920 raised the cost of a barrel of beer from $3.50 to $55. By 1927, the profits from organised crime were $500 million in Chicago alone. The production, distribution and retailing of alcohol was worth $200 million. Gambling brought in $167 million. Another $133 million came from labour racketeering, extortion and brothel-keeping.

In 1920, Chicago’s underworld was divided between a South Side gang, led by the Italian immigrant ‘Big Jim’ Colosino, and the Irish and Jewish gangs on the North Side. Like many hands-on managers, Big Jim had trouble delegating, even when it came to minor tasks such as beating up nosy journalists. When the North Side gang moved into bootlegging, Colesino’s nephew John Torrio suggested that the South Side gang compete for a share of the profits. Colesino, fearing a turf war, refused. So Torrio murdered his uncle and started bootlegging.

Torrio was a multi-ethnic employer. Americans consider this a virtue, even among murderers. The Italian ‘Roxy’ Vanilli and the Irishman ‘Chicken Harry’ Cullet rubbed along just fine with ‘Jew Kid’ Grabiner and Mike ‘The Greek’ Potson — until someone said hello to someone’s else’s little friend.

Torrio persuaded the North Side leader Dean O’Banion to agree to a ‘master plan’ for dividing Chicago. The peace held for four years. While Torrio opened an Italian restaurant featuring an operatic trio, ‘refined cabaret’ and ‘1,000,000 yards of spaghetti’, O’Banion bought some Thompson submachine guns. A racketeering cartel could not be run like a railroad cartel. There was no transparency among tax-dodgers, no trust between thieves, and no ‘enforcement device’ other than enforcement.

In May 1924, O’Banion framed Torrio for a murder and set him up for a brewery raid. In November 1924, Torrio’s gunmen killed O’Banion as he was clipping chrysanthemums in his flower shop. Two months later, the North Side gang ambushed Torrio outside his apartment and clipped him five times at close range.

Torrio survived, but he took the hint and retreated to Italy. His protégé Alphonse ‘Scarface’ Capone took over the Chicago Outfit. The euphemists of Silicon Valley would call Al Capone a serial disrupter who liked breaking things. By the end of Prohibition in 1933, there had been more than 700 Mob killings in Chicago alone.

On St Valentine’s Day 1929, Capone’s men machine-gunned seven North Siders in a parking garage. This negotiation established the Chicago Outfit’s supremacy in Chicago, and cleared the way for another Torrio scheme. In May 1929, Torrio invited the top Italian, Jewish and Irish gangsters to a hotel in Atlantic City and suggested they form a national ‘Syndicate’. The rest is violence.

Is crime just another American business, a career move for entrepreneurial immigrants in a hurry? John J. Binder teaches business at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and has a sideline in the Mob history racket. He knows where the bodies are buried, and by whom. We need no longer err by confusing North Side lieutenant Earl ‘Hymie’ Weiss, who shot his own brother in the chest, with the North Side ‘mad hatter’ Louis ‘Diamond Jack’ Allerie, who was shot in the back by his own brother; or with the bootlegger George Druggan who, shot in the back, told the police that it was a self-inflicted wound. Anyone who still mixes them up deserves a punishment beating from the American Historical Association.

Binder does his own spadework, too. Digging into Chicago’s police archives, folklore, and concrete foundations, he establishes that Chicago’s mobsters pioneered the drive-by shooting. As the unfortunate Willie Dickman discovered on 3 September 1925, they were also the first to use a Thompson submachine gun for a ‘gangland hit’. Yet the Scarface image of the Thompson-touting mobster was a fiction. Bootleggers preferred the shotgun and assassins the pistol. Thompsons were used ‘sparingly’, like a niblick in golf.

Al Capone’s Beer Wars is a well-researched source book. Readers who never learnt to read nothing because they was schooled on the mean streets will appreciate Binder’s data graphs and mugshots. Not too shabby for a wise guy.

Thanks to Dominic Green.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Al Capone's Beer Wars: A Complete History of Organized Crime in Chicago during Prohibition

Al Capone's Beer Wars: A Complete History of Organized Crime in Chicago during Prohibition.

Although much has been written about Al Capone, there has not been--until now--a complete history of organized crime in Chicago during Prohibition. This exhaustively researched book covers the entire period from 1920 to 1933. Author John J. Binder, a recognized authority on the history of organized crime in Chicago, discusses all the important bootlegging gangs in the city and the suburbs and also examines the other major rackets, such as prostitution, gambling, labor and business racketeering, and narcotics.

A major focus is how the Capone gang -- one of twelve major bootlegging mobs in Chicago at the start of Prohibition--gained a virtual monopoly over organized crime in northern Illinois and beyond. Binder also describes the fight by federal and local authorities, as well as citizens' groups, against organized crime. In the process, he refutes numerous myths and misconceptions related to the Capone gang, other criminal groups, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and gangland killings.

What emerges is a big picture of how Chicago's underworld evolved during this period. This broad perspective goes well beyond Capone and specific acts of violence and brings to light what was happening elsewhere in Chicagoland and after Capone went to jail.

Based on 25 years of research and using many previously unexplored sources, this fascinating account of a bloody and colorful era in Chicago history will become the definitive work on the subject.

When You Get Serious About Tailgating


Crime Family Index


Operation Family Secrets