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Al Capone and other Gangster related books
ULTIMATE IN CAPONE BOOKS
Many people ask "What Capone book should be the one I get to better understand Al Capone?" To me there are ONLY three Capone bios that are a must have, and three additional others that should compliment the collection! The major points being his rise and his downfall.
Excellent book on Capone by John Kobler. First indepth research into Al and the gangster players of that era. No internet back then, so lots of leg work! (1971)
The Bootleggers by Kenneth Allsop. (1961)
Amazing details into the Chicago beer wars and it's various gangs.
A must have and was the book that got me hooked!
Robert Schoenberg's Mr. Capone is top notch in my book. He revises Kobler's research and was guided by top historians in his work on Capone. Please note that no book will ever be without error. (1992).
Fred Pasley's bio on Al Capone. Al okayed the book and is not too incriminating towards Al. It's a must have in any library mainly because the book was written during that era when Al was still king. (1930)
The trial of Al Capone. (1933) Amazing self published book by Mr. Robert Ross that explains and gives us a first hand account of the happenings at Al's income tax trial.
Featured are the players on both sides of the famous tax case.
Frank Spiering's awesome work on the government's efforts to bring down Al Capone Featured is the unsung hero,Treasury agent Frank Wilson and his courageous efforts to get Capone behind bars, as ordered to him by President Hoover.
Forget the Johnny come latelys, Hoffman was one of the first in debunking the myth that Eliot Ness and the Untouchables nailed Al Capone. His excellent study reveals that a small group of Chicago businessmen that outsmarted Capone and saw a parallel for modern society in this movement against corruption and organized crime.
Hoffman reconstructs privately sponsored citizen initiatives directed at nailing Capone. These private ventures included prosecuting the gangsters responsible for election crimes during the Pineapple Primary; establishing a crime lab to assist in gang-busting; underwriting the costs of the investigation of the Jake Lingle murder; stigmatizing Capone; and protecting the star witnesses for the prosecution during the pretrial period of Capone’s income tax evasion case.
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1993.
About the Author
Dennis F. Hoffman is an associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and once had personal files from the Capone prosecution that belonged to George E.Q. Johnson.
The rest of the Capone titles out there are pretty much books you can do without. Most have rehashed stuff with a few new photos, or one or two informatical tidbits, but not really worth the investment.
If you do insist on having other Capone related books in your collection, you should definitely seek out these books at a page I have here
The books pictured above are to be totally discarded!
They are biased and unfactual. These will only lead you to confusion as to what is the truth.
Other exciting Gangster related books
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.
A KILLING IN CAPONE’S PLAYGROUND:
THE TRUE STORY OF THE HUNT FOR THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN ALIVE
By author Chriss Lyon
“Bloody Chicago” was the name given to America’s most corrupt city after the grotesque scene that left seven humans embedded into masonry walls and oil-slickened concrete. Two Thompson submachine guns did the majority of the damage but the masterminds behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre escaped. Ten months later on December 14, 1929, St. Joseph, Michigan Police Officer Charles Skelly working a routine traffic crash came face to face with a killer. Shots were fired, the assailant escaped and the dying Officer Skelly identified his murderer before taking his last breath. The trail led to a home in Stevensville, Michigan where authorities found an arsenal of weaponry, over $300,000 worth of stolen bonds, bulletproof vests, and two Thompson submachine guns. The hideout belonged to Fred Burke, a highly sought suspect in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and now the most wanted man in the nation.
The “backwash of bloody Chicago” had made its way into the rural neighborhoods of Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana. Citizens who turned a blind eye to crime, helped create “Capone’s Playground,” an environment abundant in all that is illegal and immoral.
Using never before published police reports, interviews with family members of key witnesses, and leading experts, historian Chriss Lyon establishes the foundation for what would develop as a haven for gangsters from the onset of the Prohibition Era through to the mid-twentieth century, while revealing new information about the eventual capture of notorious gangster Fred “Killer” Burke.
Author William J. Helmer's
When her husband was murdered on the orders of Chicago mobster Frank Nitti, Georgette Winkler—wife of one of Al Capone's "American Boys"—set out to expose the Chicago Syndicate. After an attempt to publish her story was squelched by the mob, she offered it to the FBI in the mistaken belief that they had the authority to strike at the racketeers who had killed her husband Gus. Discovered 60 years later in FBI files, the manuscript describes the couple’s life on the run, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre (Gus was one of the shooters), and other headline crimes of that period. Prepared for publication by mob expert William J. Helmer, Al Capone and His American Boys is a compelling contemporary account of the heyday of Chicago crime by a woman who found herself married to the mob.
Available via Amazon
By William J. Helmer
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.
Author and organized crime historian Matthew Luzi has been pursuing true crime history in Chicago Heights for more than 25 years. He has contributed to A&E’s biography of Al Capone, the History Channel’s “Rogue’s Gallery” program
and has been acknowledged in published works by John Binder, Art Bilek, and Mars Eghigian.
Highly recommended! order here at Amazon!
The Bugs Moran Story;The Man Who Got Away.
George "Bugs" Moran was the last of Chicago's spectacular North Side gang leaders, a colorful and violent dynasty that began with the rise of Dean O'Banion in 1920. THE MAN WHO GOT AWAY provides the first in-depth look at the enigmatic gangster's charmed yet wacky life, from his Minnesota childhood to his rise and fall in Chicago's prohibition-era underworld, his life as an independent outlaw in the 1930s and 1940s, and his last days in an Ohio penitentiary. In telling Moran's story, some of the twentieth century's most fascinating gangland figures are revisited, among them Al Capone, Johnny Torrio, Dean O'Banion, Vincent Drucci, Earl "Hymie" Weiss, showboating Chicago Mayor "Big Bill" Thompson, the gang-hating yet oddly pro-Moran Judge John H. Lyle, and two of Ohio's most colorful and brazen robbers, Virgil Summers and Albert Fouts. While Moran was not killed in the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in February 1929—a bloodbath that was meant for him but instead claimed the lives of seven of his associates—it marked the beginning of Moran's end as a gangland power. Cops and journalists dismissed Moran, figuring the losing his top men in the Clark Street garage and Capone's steady absorption of the North Side would either force Bugs out of town for good or make him a vulnerable target for a hit man. Moran suffered neither fate. His career showed him to be a cunning and determined survivor. Moran was street-smart in the style of the pre-World War I gangsters, rough-and-tumble brawlers who relied on their instincts, guts, and guns. He outlived O'Banion, Weiss, Capone, and probably most of those who predicted his imminent demise in 1929. Moran did not escape scot-free, however, serving the latter part of his life in both Ohio State and Leavenworth prisons on bank robbery charges. Despite his violent career, it was cigarettes, not bullets, that did him in; he died in prison in 1957 from lung cancer.
Before Al Capone, Chicago’s reigning gang leader was the flamboyant and lethal Dean “Deanie” O’Banion. His role in the Chicago gang wars of the 1920s has been examined briefly in Capone biographies and Prohibition histories, but never before has there been a book-length biography of the Irish-American gangster who was known as “Chicago’s Arch Killer” and “The Boss of the 42nd and 43rd Wards.” Using information compiled from police and court documents, contemporary news accounts, and interviews with O’Banion’s friends and associates, Guns and Roses covers O’Banion’s rise from an Illinois farm boy to the most powerful gang boss in early 1920s Chicago. It examines his role in the Irish-Sicilian clashes that plagued the North Side circa 1890–1910, his years as a slugger for William Randolph Hearst during the city’s newspaper circulation war, and his turbulent relationship with Al Capone as the two gang bosses struggled for supremacy. Also exposed in colorful detail is his association with Chicago’s other underworld luminaries, many of whose names have been lost to history despite their fascinating stories: the “Kiss of Death” girl Margaret Collins, the “Safecracking King” Charles Reiser, Jewish mobster Nails Morton, and O’Banion’s own men: Hymie Weiss, Louis “Two Gun” Alterie, Vincent Drucci, and Bugs Moran, the latter of whom barely escaped the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The book ends with O’Banion’s notorious “handshake murder,” and the struggle of his successors with Al Capone. In many ways O’Banion was an enigmatic character. A powerful gang boss who cracked skulls as brutally as any of his henchmen on election day, yet he supported entire North Side slums with his charity. And while he had few gangster allies, he inspired fanatical loyalty among his own men. The product of fifteen years of research and writing, Guns and Roses is a stroll through the memories of old Chicago as much as it is a study of its most “storied” gangster.
"Machine Gun" Jack McGurn
Chicago Assassin: The Life and Legend of Machine Gun Jack McGurn and the Chicago Beer Wars of the Roaring Twenties
Richard J. Shmelter
The city of Chicago led the nation in gangland violence created by the "Noble Experiment" known as Prohibition, and throughout the Roaring Twenties and beyond, it produced many infamous criminals whose names will forever be a part of America's criminal history. "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn was one of the most colorful and lethal characters whose exploits made the Windy City synonymous with organized crime throughout the turbulent era. Chicago Assassin documents the rise and fall of one of the period's most compelling underworld denizens. He was born Vincenzo Gibaldi in Licata, Sicily, at the beginning of the twentieth century and, with his parents, became part of the mass exodus by Europeans seeking a better life in the perceived utopia across the Atlantic known as America. The Gibaldis settled in Brooklyn, where Vincenzo spent much of his early life until a senseless act of violence tore his world apart. In a case of mistaken identity, his beloved father was murdered, and from that day forward, deep in his soul, there burned the quest for revenge. Some years later, Vincenzo's mother remarried a grocer, Angelo DeMora, and the new family moved to Chicago to make a fresh start. Vincenzo succeeded in his new surroundings, thanks to his friendly personality and outstanding athletic prowess. The handsome, congenial youth quickly mastered every sport he attempted, and by his late teens he had become one of the top welterweights in Chicago. Deciding to turn professional, Vincenzo Gibaldi adopted the name Jack McGurn, an Irish-sounding name more suited to a sport dominated at the time by that ethnic group. While "Battling" Jack McGurn was attempting to make a name for himself in the ring, his stepfather, Angelo, was working hard in the grocery store he owned in the Little Italy section of the city. The notorious Genna brothers controlled the manufacture of bootleg alcohol in Little Italy, and they bought the sugar needed to make their illicit product from McGurn's stepfather. But when they discovered the grocer was also selling sugar to other bootleggers, the Genna brothers targeted him for assassination and brutally cut him down in front of his store. Once again, the young Italian had to cope with the horrific loss of a father. This time, however, his quest for vengeance erupted with extreme violence. He went to Brooklyn, where he fatally shot two of his biological father's killers and seriously wounded another, then returned to Chicago, where he eliminated those responsible for the murder of his stepfather. It was at this time that Jack McGurn caught the eye of America's premier gangster, Al Capone. After a sterling apprenticeship with a Capone-controlled satellite called the Circus Gang, McGurn realized that fate had determined his life's work. He eventually earned a reputation as Chicago's most feared and notorious gangland assassin, with more than twenty kills to his credit during the city's bloody Beer Wars. It is interesting to note that the weapon of choice for the man known as "Machine Gun" Jack was actually a revolver—his nickname, like those of most criminals of the day, was concocted by a newspaper reporter looking for a catchy moniker that would make good copy. Jack McGurn also has been forever linked to the most notorious slaying in gangland history—the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Within these pages is new evidence that brings to light in detail Jack McGurn's involvement in the slaughter and its aftermath. And no story set in the turbulent decades of the 1920s and '30s would be complete without the gorgeous women who sought their thrills from these dangerous yet intriguing men. Like most of his contemporaries, Jack McGurn could have his pick among countless beautiful young females, but one became not only his lover but his soulmate, as well. Louise Rolfe was the quintessential jazz baby, and she played a major role in McGurn's life, earning a bit of immortality herself along the way. Of all the gangsters who became household names during the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition—and whose legends continue today—"Machine Gun" Jack McGurn is arguably the most compelling, for his classic good looks, love of family, athletic ability, and calculating criminal mind made him the template for the good-boy-gone-bad films that have been a staple of American culture since the 1930s.
By author Mars Eghigian Jr.
Approximately 437 pages which includes about 150 pages of detailed notes for the serious organized crime researchers; proposed 16 pages of (71or more) photos, including some unpublished photos including Nitti, Bioff, Browne, Ricca mugshots, Estelle Carey, Aiello, Stanton, and a couple fresh scenery shots; an account of Nitti's life from his upbringing in Italy to New York to Chicago, his entry into organized crime, a somewhat different view of the 1920's (not another complete rehash) and his complete career after Capone. Based as much as possible on original sources; the movie extortion portion, in particular, is derived from actual trial transcripts and Fed files. Anyone interested may e-mail the author at Mars2ntto@cs.com or check Cumberland House, Amazon or Overstock.com
The Gun That Made The Twenties Roar copyright 1969 by The Gun room press
This book is a must for all gangster and gun enthusiasts.It shows the beginnings of the Thompson from it's inception to it's bloody past from gangster warefare and to later glory in the korean war.
By William Helmer with Rick Mattix
In the stormy decades between 1920 and 1940, America's cities as well as its rural areas were introduced to a new breed of lawlessness the Gangster. Public Enemies: America's Criminal Past details hard-to-find statistics, narratives, and lore, as well as the vivid personalities that roamed the country during this period.
Filled with more than 70 illustrations and editorial cartoons that capture the attitudes of the era, Public Enemies reveals the nature of U.S. crime and criminals during this time, with particular attention to Prohibition bootleggers, Depression Era outlaws, and the first nationwide "war on crime." Great Book!!!!
First Posted March 2005