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Al Capone and other Gangster related 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.

Al Capone's Beer Wars:
 A Complete History of Organized Crime in Chicago during Prohibition
(June 2017)

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.

Available at all fine online bookstores

 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.

Available at'sPlayground.html

Contact the author at

Author William J. Helmer's
Al Capone and His American Boys: Memoirs of a Mobster's Wife

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

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

Other exciting Gangster related books

These exciting books are now out and are a must read. They are written by authors who are dedicated to their craft. Please support them. Got a book coming out? Want it placed here? Send me a copy for review and if it meets my criteria, I will post it.

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!

 Pat Downey's Legs Diamond book
From Amazon: With a knack for beating the rap and surviving the bullets of his enemies, Jack "Legs" Diamond was the quintessential Prohibition era gangster. Both cunning and daring, Jack rose to the top of the criminal elite but because of his stubbornness, treachery and poor decision making he lost it all; his friends, his money and finally his life.

Legs Diamond is the most comprehensive biography yet written on New York's most famous gangster. The book covers Legs' youth in Philadelphia, his ascension through the New York City underworld and his inevitable demise in a cheap boarding house. Along the way, the many myths and untruths that have been written about Diamond over the years are corrected.

Detailed in the book are:
- Full accounts of all four attempts on his life.
- The war between Diamond and his one time protégé Dutch Schultz,
- The almost assassination of Legs' brother Eddie.
- The famous Hotsy-Totsy murder case.
- Diamond's ill-fated trip to Europe to purchase drugs.
Available via Amazon

Gangs of St. Louis
Men of Respect
Author Daniel Waugh is a history buff with a particular interest in the history of crime in the greater St. Louis, his hometown.
This is  Mr. Waugh's second and excellent published work on the infamous gangs of St. Louis. Available through the History Press and other fine book outlets. Click on photo to order.

Famous New York Gangsters

Allan R. May
Organized crime and the mob figures who run it have long captured the imagination of the American public, appearing since the early twentieth century as characters in a host of popular books, movies, and television programs. But often what the public knew of such figures and their criminal careers was as much myth as fact. This book offers highly readable, carefully researched biographies that dispel the the myths but preserve the fascination surrounding 10 infamous New York mob leaders of the twentieth century. Each in-depth biography will help interested readers understand how and why each of these men achieved special notariety within the world of organized crime.
Each biography describes the early years of each man, assessing how he came to a criminal career; his rise to prominence within the mob, providing reaction from those who knew him and witnessed his actions; and the last years of his career, assessing why it ended as it did. Each biography is illustrated with a picture of its subject and concludes with a listing of additional information resources, both print and electronic. A detailed subject index provides further access to the large amount of information contained in each biography. A timeline allows readers to quickly and easily track the birth, death, and important events in the life of each mobster.

About the Author:
 Allan R. May has had an interest in organized crime since he saw his first episode of The Untouchables in the early 1960s. Today, May's library contains over 750 books on organized crime. May writing first appeared on the Internet Web site Jerry Capeci's Gangland News in the weekly column entitled This Week in Gang Land. At, May wrote a weekly historical column called A Look Back, and later Allan May's Current Mob Report. May's articles also appear on, and he has contributed nine short stories to Court TV's May resides in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife Connie.
Available at Amazon and at every fine bookstore.

A history of organized crime in the city of Warren and Trumbull County, Ohio; featuring stories about the infamous Jungle Inn gambling den, local ganglord Jimmy Munsene, the notorious Farah brothers, Detroit mobster-transplant Frank Cammarata, one-time Cleveland Mafia underboss Anthony "Tony Dope" Delsanter, and others.

"The whole story has not yet been told. The raid and the events of the past few days are proof that a community can allow places like Jungle Inn to exist only at its peril. The fact the crowds who went there to gamble were in constant danger of being burned to death is not the worst of the indictments that can be brought against it. Worse still was the nest of corruption that it fostered - the influence it wielded over public officials and over the political life of Trumbull and Mahoning counties. If money could not tempt men in public life - men with power over the lives of these communities - it had its gunmen always ready to persuade them"
From an editorial in the Youngstown Vindicator, August 16, 1949

See video and story by clicking on above photo

Letters from Alcatraz features an impressive collection of original correspondence from inmates both on-and-off the Rock. Their letters capture the true essence of life in prison, with fresh and historical insights to their sufferings and occasional triumphs. It is a finer example of history from one of America's most historical treasures. This rare collection features many never before published personal letters from Al Capone, George Machine Gun Kelly, Robert Stroud - the Birdman of Alcatraz, Alvin Karpis, Henri Young, John & Clarence Anglin, Roy Gardner and numerous others. Also included are narratives on the Battle of Alcatraz and other harrowing escape attempts. The letters are all presented in their original unedited form... revealing in their authenticity, representing their lives suspended in slow motion while serving time on the Rock and other prisons. They are confessionals of earnestness and probe their introspective thoughts. Sometimes deep, and sometimes they are almost too overwhelmingly honest in their descriptive accounts. Many represent their torn and textured histories in crime and the intricately layered stories of life at Alcatraz. Letters from Alcatraz is an epic exploration of a secret cloak and dagger culture once hidden behind a mythical curtain. This book is much more than a mere exercise in myth busting. Paired with its contextual and intrinsic complexities, Letters from Alcatraz grants readers privileged access to the formidable confinement conditions endured by these inmates along with their compelling portraits, and a thorough overview of the rich history of Alcatraz Island. The depth of feeling in its story, its setting, its cast and sheer inimitability, these are their lives in prose and the stories of the forgotten...

About the Author
Letters from Alcatraz is Michael Esslinger's second endeavor chronicling the history of Alcatraz Island. Esslinger is a historical researcher, whose acclaimed work has appeared in numerous books, film and television documentaries, including segments on the Discovery, National Geographic and History Channels. In 2003 he published: Alcatraz - A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years. Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the most meticulously detailed histories ever written the subject, it has remained a best selling reference since its publication. He is also the author of the forthcoming reference chronicling the first expeditions to the Moon entitled: APOLLO - A Definitive History of the Apollo Lunar Expeditions. His research resulted in one of the most comprehensive assemblages of information on the Apollo Program, derived from intensive archival research and over a thousand hours of in-depth one-on-one interviews, which include the elusive Apollo 11 Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin. He remains one of the foremost historians on the Apollo Program. Michael is currently collaborating with Julie Dawn Cole, the original Veruca Salt in the classic motion picture Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on her personal memoir. The book entitled: I Want it Now! chronicles her experiences during the entire epic production and also includes a fascinating portrait of her life and acting career. Esslinger is a native California coastal resident along with his wife and three sons, and frequently participates in the guest author program on Alcatraz Island.

(The infamous)
Governor Len Small

Author Jim Ridings has worked for daily newspapers in Ottawa (The Daily Times) and Aurora (The Beacon News), Illinois, where he won several awards for investigative reporting at both newspapers. He has also written several books of local history (including Cardiff: Ghost Town On the Prairie), which have won awards from the Illinois State Historical Society and the Illinois Humanities Council.

Amazing book now available at Amazon by clicking HERE

Side show books PO BOX 464
Herscher, Illinois 60941

Big Jack Zelig

Rose Keefe

Selig Harry Lefkowitz, alias Big Jack Zelig, was New York's first great gangster boss. Like many of his pre-Volstead contemporaries, his historical impact has been overshadowed by Al Capone and Murder Inc. He is listed in today's crime anthologies primarily because four members of his gang, along with corrupt cop Charles Becker, died in the electric chair for the July 1912 murder of gambler Herman Rosenthal.

In New York City from 1908 to 1912, however, Zelig inspired admiration and fear, and he was synonymous with the word gangster. New York editor Herbert Bayard Swope recalled that "The Starker (Yiddish for 'Big Boss') threw terror into the heart of the New York underworld like no one has before or since."

Irony and tragedy often joined forces, but the way they combined in the Becker-Rosenthal affair is harrowing. Becker's job was to eradicate the Manhattan gangs. Yet the city's most powerful gangster, Jack Zelig was prepared to testify for him and save him from the electric chair. But when Zelig was murdered before he could take the stand, Becker was consequentially doomed.

The question is, Who ordered Zelig killed—and why?

The answer is revealed by Rose Keefe, who follows Zelig's story from his childhood in New York's Russian-Jewish slums to his enlistment in the Manhattan gang wars (1905–10) to his ascendancy to the top of the New York underworld. Keefe reveals that Zelig's murder was a political assassination, not retaliation for an alleged robbery, as legend has claimed. For the first time, the truth about who ordered Herman Rosenthal murdered, and why, will be revealed.

Based on dozens of interviews and years of painstaking research, The Starker introduces readers to a story from New York's criminal past that is dazzling in its audacity and criminal in the success of the people responsible for the murders in covering up their own crimes.

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.

Author Rose Keefe on History channel's Man , Moment , Machine.

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.

Dean O'Banion

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.

Author Rose Keefe with Antoinette Giancana.

Rose Keefe has a gift of writing gangster related books like no other. She burst on to the scene after meeting up with Bill Helmer, who coaxed her to go ahead with her god given talent as a crime researcher/ historian and author.
Her first published book,( a project that began in 1987) on Chicago's Northside gang leader Dean O'Banion was a big success.It left many gangster buffs in awe of the little known Dean O'Banion who was Chicago's top crime boss,way before Capone.There Keefe gave the true crime readers what they wanted.
Now not resting on any of her laurels, Keefe came back with a knock out punch bigger than the first. Her second book
The Man who got away; The George "Bugs" Moran story focuses on Capone's real rival (no, not  the often thought of Eliot Ness), but the real thorn in Al Capone's side and the major threat to his mob empire.
Keefe digs and comes up with info that leaves historians open jawed and awestruck. Her sources, close and authentic, dispells any naysayers as she one ups the once accepted written facts on the supposed irish mob man who was George Bugs Moran (Or was he)? Besides her two books, Rose has written articles for local periodicals and publications. She is credited in many gangster books.She has appeared on the History ChanneI and done several radio interviews on her authored subjects and for her expertise in this domain.

By far the Chicago Northside mob expert, Rose Keefe resides in Ontario,Canada.  

New York Criminals

Patrick Downey

"I didn't have anything better to do. That's why I went around bumping off cops." So said Francis "Two-Gun" Crowley after shooting it out with dozens of policemen in the most spectacular siege in New York City history. For ninety minutes, authorities poured hundreds of bullets and chucked tear-gas bombs into the gunman's fifth-story apartment as thousands of people swarmed below, watching the drama unfold. Finally, bleeding from several wounds and choking on the gas, the nineteen-year-old desperado surrendered, bringing an end to a three-month-long crime spress that included two murders.

Crowley was just one of a vast number of outlaws — male and female — who terrorized New York City in the years between World Wars I and II. The lawlessness during that era was unprecedented in American history.

Bad Seeds in the Big Apple is the first book to profile New York City's notorious bandits, gunmen, and desperadoes of the Prohibition and Depression eras. While numerous books have been written on the city's organized-crime scene, this book completes the picture by introducing readers to infamous New Yorkers such as Richard Reese Whittemore, leader of a gang of jewel thieves; extortion queen Vivian Gordon; bandit and Sing Sing escapee James Nannery; Al Stern and his gang of kidnappers, the men behind the ill-fated 1926 Tombs Prison break; the marauders behind the 1934 Rubel Ice Plant armored car robbery; and dozens of other law breakers who have never before been covered in book form. Patrick Downey also includes a fresh look at a few characters of the era who have received individual book-length treatments.

About the Author
PATRICK DOWNEY grew up in the Detroit, MI area before moving to New York in 1990. Patrick can be found in the New York Public Library and NYC Municipal Archives researching New York's gangster past.
Patrick has been studying New York City's early-twentieth-century crime scenes for more than fifteen years. He has written articles on the Big Apple's gangster past for newspapers, spoken on the subject at the Museum of the City of New York, and has designed and led a walking tour that highlights criminal landmarks in conjunction with the museum.

Author Patrick Downey during the Chicago Gangster convention 2004.

New York Gangsters

Gangster City is arguably the most comprehensive book written to date on New York City's underworld from 1900-1920. Its pages chronicle virtually every widely known (and lesser known) Mafioso, bootlegger, racketeer and thug who terrorized the City in the early 20th century. The murders of some 600-plus gangsters are profiled in detail.
Beginning with the reign of Monk Eastman, this veritable encyclopedia of the New York underworld explores the origins of Mafia initiation rites and uncovers the most important gang wars, many still unknown to average readers. Also, for the first time ever, an in-depth look into the career of Vincent Coll reveals his probable killer, while myths are dispelled about the Irish White Hand gang, as their demise is frequently but wrongly attributed to a carefully planned attack by Al Capone.
With a full listing of the specific addresses where criminals were killed throughout the New York and New Jersey area, Patrick Downey animates and expands all previous knowledge of this infamous era in American history. This is volume one of a two-volume series. Volume two will cover the years 1920-1940.

Author Downey taking a break  ala Dutch Schultz during book signing.

Click on above photo to take you to his site or click

"Machine Gun" Jack McGurn

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.

RICHARD J. SHMELTER is a writer and researcher specializing in sports and American crime history from the 1890s to the 1940s, especially the Prohibition era. He is a member of the North American branch of the International Association of Crime Writers and the American Crime Writers League. The author of The Browns: Cleveland's Team, he lives in Sagamore Hills, Ohio.
$24.95, Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1-58182-618-4 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-58182-618-0 (Hardcover)

Chicago Crime Photos
John Russick
10" x 10", 216 pages

Historic Photos of Chicago Crime: The Capone Era opens with a compelling look at Chicago’s cityscape to include a broad range of cultural phenomena—from suffrage to jazz— essential to the contextualization of crime in the 1920s and 1930s. The history then proceeds as its title suggests—to a riveting overview of crime in Chicago, chock-full of images documenting notorious gangsters and gruesome gangland wars. Al Capone, John Torrio, Earl “Hymie” Weiss, George “Bugs” Moran, and a host of others are all here. Replete with insightful captions and penetrating chapter introductions by historian John Russick, these photos offer a unique view into Chicago and its nefarious past.
For a 25% discount on this book, please contact below and tell them Mario from myalcaponemuseum sent you!

Teri Missildine
Turner Publishing Company
615.255.2665 ext 113

Public Enemies
The ultimate and indispensable guide to gangsterdom's 20's and 30's.
Available at any fine bookstores.

Bill Helmer
(click on his photo for a complete bio)

About Rick Mattix
Author Rick Mattix holding thompson used in the St.Valentine's day massacre

Mr. Rick Mattix gangster historian / researcher and co-author. His name has appeared in credits of various excellent gangster books and documentaries.
Rick is a devoted gangster researcher whose opinion is highly regarded in this field by many.He is sought for advice by most authors on the subject.
Rick Lives in Iowa with his wife Linda Mattix.

Some of Rick's achievements include

Public Enemies: America's Criminal Past, 1919-1940 By William J. Helmer and Rick Mattix

 Dillinger: The Untold Story
by G.Russell Girardin,William J. Helmer and Rick Mattix
He has also written articles such as for Thompson Gun collectors news.

Upcoming book on the Barker gang by Ron Morgan and Rick Mattix.
Rick has also appeared on a documentary on the Barkers.
His range on various outlaws is outstanding!!

Author/ researcher Rick Mattix and Shelton gangster author Taylor Pensoneau

Egan's Rats: The Untold Story of the Prohibition era Gang That Ruled St. Louis

Daniel Waugh

"We never shoot unless we know who is present," gang boss Tom Egan declared in a candid interview with a leading St. Louis newspaper. Just who was this man who could boast in public about ordering murder? After nearly a century, the story of Egan's Rats can finally be told: how a group of Victorian-era street punks mushroomed into a powerful force that controlled Missouri's largest city for nearly thirty years.

Led by two childhood pals, Thomas "Snake" Kinney and Tom Egan, the Rats emerged from the city's Irish slums. They learned their trade the old-fashioned way, via robberies, brawls, burglaries, and shootings. When Kinney ran on the Democratic ticket in the Third Ward, his friends were at the polls to ensure he got enough votes. For nearly ten years the gang cut a large swath in St. Louis, instilling fear wherever it went. With Snake Kinney a Missouri state senator, and Tom Egan St. Louis's most dangerous gangster, the gang boasted nearly 400 members. Nearly everyone who lived in St. Louis was touched by them in some way or another.

Soon the Rats became overconfident and careless, beginning with a public shooting war against a gang led by Missouri beverage inspector Edward "Jelly Roll" Hogan. When the once fearful public grew tired of the gangs, their leadership ended up in federal prison for twenty-five years, largely on the testimony of one of their own who turned state's evidence in fear for his life.

Egan's Rats provides a fascinating glimpse into a past that wasn't always idyllic. It was an era in which roving gangs of thugs terrorized voters with impunity, when alcohol was illegal, when a gangster could brag of his power in the newspaper, and when the tendrils of St. Louis crime reached all the way to the White House.

DANIEL WAUGH is a history buff with a particular interest in the history of crime in the greater St. Louis, Missouri, area where he lives. While his research extends far beyond the confines of his book, Egan's Rats is his first published work.
$24.95, Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1-58182-575-7 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1-58182-575-6 (Hardcover)

Far too many organized crime books are narrowly focused on New York and Chicago, as if nothing of any consequence ever happened in the underworlds of other cities. St Louis has a gangster past just as colorful and violent and indeed supplied many of the killers who made the Twenties roar in other urban battlegrounds around the nation. Many books mention Egan's Rats as the premier St. Louis gang but provide little and usually erroneous detail. Dan Waugh, a native St. Louisan, a fantastic researcher, and a wonderful writer, has corrected this with an incredibly in-depth and entertaining history of the gang. Stretching from its 1890s roots as saloon toughs in the employ of politician "Snake" Kinney right on through the bloody Prohibition gang wars and the million-dollar mail robberies that brought the gang down, and the exodus of ex-Rats to the gang war scenes of New York, Detroit, and Chicago, it's an action-packed history that's long overdue. This is also Waugh's debut as a published author but from I've seen he's already a powerhouse contender when it comes to crime history.  ---    Rick Mattix,  Author / Historian.

Lucky Luciano

Ellen Poulsen

In 1936, the New York trial of "Vice Czar" Lucky Luciano, for the crime of compulsory prostitution, resulted in his conviction. Luciano was the banner name for a trial that also included many co-defendants. This book addresses the other side of the Luciano trial, the story of the low-level street people who were brought into the trial to act as material witnesses. While Luciano's fabled conviction and later, pardon and deportation is remembered, little has been done to tell the story of the material witnesses and co-defendants. This book tells their story.

For further details please visit

Gangster Molls

Book Description
Buried under decades of stereotype and parody, the true history of the female companions of the Great Depression's bank-robbing gang is uncovered. Don't Call Us Molls carefully examines the legacy of the Dillinger women using eyewitness and descendants' accounts as well as courtroom and prison records. This book explores the collective experience of these fugitives and offers a thoughtful, well-informed commentary on past attitudes toward the marginalized women of the day-the lawbreakers, the informers, and a lone female sheriff. FBI memos, court transcripts, and never-before-published photos reveal the events experienced by women under siege, resurrecting historical figures and their private behavior. This history lays bare the personal lives of the wives and girlfriends of the public enemies of the 1930s and examines how their conflicting loyalties were challenged and exploited by unrelenting pressure of the United States government to betray their men.

Author Ellen Poulsen at the Chicago Gangster convention 2004.

About the Author
Ellen Poulsen has worked as a staff writer for the Queens Chronicle, and she is the recipient of the Sandra Schor Nonfiction Award. She lives in Queens, New York.

Ellen has a great site pertaining to her writing work.Please visit  by clicking below.

The 1936 Trial of Lucky Luciano

Melvin Purvis
Alston Purvis and Alex Tresniowski

J. Edgar Hoover's FBI made its reputation in the gang-busting days of the 1930s as, one-by-one, bank robbers like Dillinger and "Pretty Boy" Floyd were riddled with bullets and shorn of their false glamour and public sympathies were redirected to the forces of law and order. One of the most active, and certainly the best known, of the Justice Department sleuths was ace G-man Melvin Purvis. His popularity bruised the jealous ego of the Director, his former friend and mentor. Hoover drove Purvis from the Bureau, erased him from its official history, and spent the next twenty-five years sabotoging him in his post-FBI career and making his life miserable. This was how Hoover repaid the loyal service of the man he'd once promised, "Get Dillinger and the world is yours." Alston Purvis gives a wonderful personal account of his father's heroic life, in and out of the Bureau, enhanced by details from Melvin's own records, FBI reports, and the recollections of Doris Lockerman, Purvis's still-spritely secretary from the "Dillinger Days." More than a personal memoir, the gangster era is told in exciting and accurate detail and popular myths are disspelled. And at long last we have the likely truth behind the tragic mishap that cost Melvin Purvis his life.

Above review by Rick Mattix

Frank Nitti

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 or check Cumberland House, Amazon or

St. Val. Massacre

Available Now

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.

WILLIAM J. HELMER is the author of The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar and coauthor of Dillinger: The Untold Story and Baby Face Nelson. He lives in Bourne,Texas.
 The book is entirely devoted to the massacre. It dissects and puts under a microscope evidence and clues and leaves up to the mind of the readers who was behind the hit and behind the guns in this unsolved wholesale slaughter.
Written by our good friend crime historian Bill Helmer. It is available by pre-order via

From Arcadia publishing
Mt. Carmel Cemetary

Jenny Floro Khalaf and Cynthia Savaglio's outstanding book on the famous Chicago cemetary.
From the heartbreak of dozens of families burying their children after the notorious Our Lady of Angels School Fire to the serenity of a grieving mother, who six years after the death of her daughter finds her wedding-clad body in peaceful repose; from the lawlessness of the bootleg era, punctuated by such ignominious figures as Al Capone and Dean O’Banion, to the patriotic triumph of one of the flag bearers of Iwo Jima, Mount Carmel and Queen of Heaven Cemeteries have provided the final chapter in the colorful lives and tragic events that have marked the city of Chicago for the last century. It denotes the final resting place of the churches’ bishops and cardinals as well as the city’s beloved parents, grandparents, and children. Mount Carmel and Queen of Heaven Cemeteries offers a unique glimpse into the history of Chicago during a time that saw massive immigration, rising industrialization, two world wars, and numerous tragedies, by chronicling the lives and stories behind the individuals who are interred there.

About the Author
Author Jenny Floro-Khalaf is a family historian and genealogist who is the creator and webmaster for Cynthia Savaglio is a screenwriter and documentary filmmaker who teaches at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

Cicero, Illinois

Great book sent in by my friend Cicero collector Frank Magallon.The author Mr.Douglas Deuchler digs deep to bring out the origins and growth of this interesting and historic town that is a stones throw away from Chicago.
Many intriguing snaps reveal this beautiful place and it's people.Fascinating! No wonder Torrio and Capone loved it there.  
(Special thanks to Mr. Magallon)

The Chicago Mob

The Chicago Outfit

by John Binder

Written by's own John Binder. This is the book that all of our site users have been waiting for. Although it's not available in bookstores for another month, you can get your limited edition autographed copy here. A exclusive!
Book summary:
Containing approximately 20000 words and 180 photos, The Chicago Outfit is the only complete history of the Mob in Chicago -- from the late 1800s to the present. It includes a variety of new information on the subject, debunking a number of the myths that have arisen about organized crime in Chicago, and concludes with an evaluation of why the Outfit has been the most successful of the Cosa Nostra families and why it has declined since the 1950s.

Many of the photos are unique and are published here for the first time, including photos showing prominent Chicago gangsters at relaxation as well as mug shots, line-up pictures and death scenes.

If you would like an author signed copy, please send $23.00 ($20 cover price plus S+H for U. S. addresses -- S+H (airmail) is more for other countries) to:

John Binder
1422 N. Monroe
River Forest, IL 60305,

along with your address and who the book should be inscribed to.

Thanks much,
John Binder

The Ultimate in Alcatraz history!

A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years

by Michael Esslinger

Alcatraz - A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years is a comprehensive reference with 451 PAGES of historic photographs, documents, and information that breaks away from traditional tourist style books. This book is the result of years of intensive research, and navigates the Island's history through rarely seen documents, interviews, and historic photographs. This newly released book has received rave reviews from both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune.
Historian Michael Esslinger thoroughly details the prominent events, inmates, and life inside the most infamous prison in American History. His research included hundreds of hours examining actual Alcatraz inmate files (including rare original documents from Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and over a hundred others) exploring the prison grounds from the rooftop to the waterfront to help retrace events, escape routes, in addition to conducting various interviews with former inmates & guards. His study has resulted in detailed accounts of both the 1946 & 1962 Escape attempts. A definitive account of the 1962 escape of Frank Morris and the Anglin Brothers provides rare insight extracted through photos, and over 1,700 pages of FBI investigative notes.
Detailed narratives of Alcatraz's most notable inmates who include Robert Stroud (Birdman of Alcatraz), Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Frank Morris, the Anglin Brothers, Doc Barker, Joe Cretzer, Bernard Coy, Miran Thompson, Sam Shockley, and many many others. Alcatraz Federal Prison - A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years, is a comprehensive reference on the history of Alcatraz and contains one of the most comprehensive archives of inmate and prison life photographs (nearly 1,000) from 1934-1963.
Available at and


Helmer/Girardin book and Depp.
(Depp photo Chicago Tribune)

Dillinger: The Untold Story--The Expanded Edition by
Girardin & Helmer. (Rick Mattix) Paperback, Indiana University
Press, 377 pgs. Released March 1, 2005
Updated classic with nearly forty pages of new info
uncovered by Bill & me With a Little Help From Our
Friends. Great new stuff on Dillinger's tommy guns,
Sandy's Dillinger Terraplane, the Crown Point &
Columbus jailbreaks, gravesites of gang members,
interconnections of Dillinger and Barker-Karpis gangs
with Capone syndicate and others, lotsa previously
unrecorded Dillinger facts and folklore, and even the
possible survival of one gang member long reported

The photogallery can be viewed at:,0,151018.photogallery

I didn't know that. Author Jim Deaton.

Not a gangster book,but a handy fun book by my friend Jim Deaton with facts about certain people and events.(Has a section devoted to the St.Valentine Massacre)Due out in mid-april 2005.

Jim Deaton lives in the American South. Five years ago, he suffered a paralytic stroke and turned to writing full time. He is a graduate of Pendleton County (Kentucky) High School, attended the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and Northern Kentucky University and has been a Memphis resident since 1991.His other book called Blue Mud  is now available.

The Tri-State Terror: The Life and Crimes of Wilbur
Underhill by R.D. Morgan. Paperback, 384 pgs., New
Forums Press, Stillwater, OK. Also just released this
month. Detailed & definitive biography of a nationally
headlined but largely forgotten Depression outlaw, one
of the major suspects in the Kansas City Massacre and
the first criminal ever shot by the FBI. Fascinating
story with wealth of new info including previously
unpublished photos and letters from Wilbur to his
mother just prior to his 1933 prison escape.Click on book photo for link to Ron Morgan's site.Other great books by him there.

r gang war, perhaps because of its rural setting, has been long overlooked by mos
t Among the legends of the Prohibition era, the Shelton-Birger gang war, perhaps because of its rural setting, has been long overlooked by most gangster books and it's a shame. A lot of stuff happened outside New York and Chicago. In the mid-to-late '20's, the Birger and Shelton gangs rivaled Capone's Chicago beer wars in terms of both publicity and body count. Spectacularly so, with not only machine guns but armored trucks and even the first aerial bombing in U.S. history. What Gary DeNeal did for Charlie Birger, Taylor Pensoneau has now done admirably for his rivals. Birger was hanged in 1928 but the Shelton boys continued to prosper, in bootlegging, gambling and labor racketeering until the late '40's, when their story came to a violent end and this well researched and highly readable account tells the whole story. Read up, Hollywood--the Sheltons deserve a movie!
Review by gangster historian Mr. Rick Mattixt

168 Pages

Book description:
For more than 70 years, Al Capone has been equated with wealth, violence, and corruption. As America's most infamous criminal, he has intrigued, attracted, and repulsed the general public with his legendary criminal deeds. This concise biography separates the myth from the man. Beginning with a historical look at corruption in American society--along with a clarification of the terms Black Hand, Mafia, and Organized Crime--Capone is presented in his own time and place. A timeline summarizes the events of his life and career. A thorough bibliography of print and electronic sources will assist students and general readers interested in further research, making it perfect for anyone in Capone's life, organized crime, the prohibition era, and the struggle of lower-class Americans to rise in society.
The son of poor Italian immigrants struggling for a better life in early 20th-century New York, Capone chose a life of crime as a means of advancing his place in the world. His success brought him fabulous wealth and fame. His criminal deeds made him many enemies among law enforcement officers, politicians, and fellow criminals. Yet ultimately, Capone's downfall was his own misdeeds. Following a lengthy prison term, he died at age 48 from complications of syphilis. In his short life, Capone had become America's most feared criminal, and after his death, his legend cast an even greater shadow.
Available at all fine bookstores such as
Author Luciano Iorizzo is Emeritus Professor of History at the State University of New York.

This book picks up where The Desperate Ones: Canada''s Forgotten Outlaws left off. Here are more remarkable true stories about Canadian crimes and criminals -- most of them tales that have been buried for years. The stories begin in colonial Newfoundland, with robbery and murder committed by the notorious Power Gang. As readers travel across the country and through time, they will meet the last two men to be hanged in Prince Edward Island, smugglers who made lake Champlain a battleground, a counterfeiter whose bills were so good they fooled even bank managers, and teenage girls who committed murder in their escape from jail. They will meet the bandits who plundered banks and trains in Eastern Canada and the West, and even the United States. Among them were Same Behan, a robber whose harrowing testimony about the brutal conditions in the Kingston Penittentiary may have brought about his untimely death in "The Hole"; and John "Red" Hamilton, the Canadian-born member of the legendary Dillinger gang.
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About the Author

Edward Butts is the author of several historical non-fiction books, including SOS: Stories of Survival and True Canadian Unsolved Mysteries. He is the author of Idioms for Aliens, a humourous look at English grammar. His book The Desperate Ones: Forgotten Canadian Outlaws (Dundurn 2006) was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award. Ed lives in Guelph, Ontario.

No More Tomorrows is a poignant true story about the tragic death of a little boy, the murder of his doctor, a trial that ignored the rules of justice regarding the killer, and the struggles of the dead boy’s family. It includes the power struggle that ensued between factions of the New York chapter of the American Medical Association and the Italian Mafia. Those involved in the appeal for true justice include such well-known names as Fiorello Laguardia, Al Smith and the most famous defense lawyer of the time, Clarence Darrow.

Dom Caruso guides the reader back in time to the late 1920s in New York City. He follows as closely as possible the story related to him by those who lived through it . . . parents, siblings and other relatives and acquaintances. The little boy who died was his brother. The killer, overloaded with grief and rage, the one who killed the doctor, was his father. The devastating grief his father felt over the loss of his eldest child Joey (six-years-old) is well chronicled by Mr. Caruso.  

This enthralling story opens doors to an era past, an era when immigrants were usually disillusioned and mistreated, and who lived by their own code of justice in various ethnic neighborhoods. I especially recommend it to those who enjoy history, Mafia buffs, biography lovers and those who like to read about crime and trials.
Available at Amazon

German gangster book compiled by Mr. Robert Nippoldt, with outstanding drawings made by this talented court sketch artist.Comes with deck of cards of various gangsters to play with out folding pages in the back of the book.Hopefully It will be picked up by a publisher in the U.S.Here below is an example of a sketch.Contact info for Mr. Nippoldt is
Robert Nippoldt
Sentmaringer Weg 118
48151 Munster

First Posted March 2005