Gangland Gotham: New York's Notorious Mob Bosses

By Allan R. May | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

My interest in the history of organized crime goes back to the early 1960s when I saw my first episode of The Untouchables television series. Eliot Ness was one of my heroes, and in 1997, I initiated what turned into a memorial service for the famed crime fighter at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland 40 years after his death.

Over the decades, as my interest grew, I began building a library of books on the subject. Today I believe I have one of the largest libraries in the United States on the subject of organized crime, with nearly 800 titles.

As my interest and my library grew, I noticed many inconsistencies in the telling of stories involving both organized crime figures and the law enforcement figures (police officers, safety directors, prosecutors, mayors, politicians, and judges) who spent their careers putting them away.

In 1998, I was blessed when my organized crime-history writing career began with a short stint working for the dean of organized crime writers, Jerry Capeci, on his Gang Land News Web site. Shortly thereafter, I began my association and friendship with fellow Cleveland Heights High School graduate Rick Porrello at his new Web site, AmericanMafia.com.

In the stories I wrote for AmericanMafia.com, as well in later stories for Crimemagazine. com and Court TV’s CrimeLibrary.com, I tried to focus on the discrepancies that existed in the subjects I wrote about in an effort to clear them up and help the reader understand. I quickly learned that it was not just a matter of trying to point out someone else’s mistakes; anyone who has read my early stories knows I’ve made enough of my own.

The truth is that writing about the history of organized crime from the 1900s is much like writing about the Wild West characters who dominated crime in the 1800s. Readers are simply fascinated with the fantastic tales of these characters and their exploits. The more fantastic they can make the tale, the more popular the characters become. These tales spill over to television and the silver screen, and outlaws like Jesse James and Billy the Kid, as well as the story of the shootout at the OK Corral, become larger than life.

This history repeated itself with outlaws who became famous during the Midwest Crime Wave of 1933–1934. The bank robbers and killers from that era are still household names

-ix-

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Gangland Gotham: New York's Notorious Mob Bosses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Timeline xv
  • 1 - Joe Adonis (Giuseppe Antonio Doto) 1
  • 2 - Albert Anastasia (Umberto Anastasio) 37
  • 3 - Louis Buchalter 73
  • 4 - Frank Costello (Francesco Castiglia) 117
  • 5 - Carlo Gambino 155
  • 6 - Vito Genovese 183
  • 7 - Lucky Luciano (Salvatore Lucania) 213
  • 8 - Arnold Rothstein 253
  • 9 - Dutch Schultz (Arthur Flegenheimer) 281
  • 10 - Abner Zwillman 309
  • Biographies of Other Prominent Figures Mentioned in the Text 331
  • Appendix 363
  • Bibliography 405
  • Index 407
  • About the Author 427
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