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Best gangster biographies #993386
07/02/20 03:23 PM
07/02/20 03:23 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,515
AZ
Turnbull Offline OP
Turnbull  Offline OP

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 18,515
AZ
Gangster bios generally are garbage. Gangsters aren't the types to leave their collected letters and papers to university libraries for people like us to peruse. Authors fictionalize dialog or incidents, and almost always pass on hearsay as "facts"--the more sensational, the more often repeated.

I've read only four that I think are very good:

Little Man - Meyer Lansky and the Gangster Life, by Robert Lacey. Hands down the best gangster bio ever. Lacey's research is incredibly diligent, with many interviews of people who knew and worked with Lansky, as well as public and private records. Hundreds of footnotes and citations. A well-rounded, nuanced and fair assessment of Lansky's career--no sensationalism, no Robin Hood BS.

Capone, by John Kobler. Despite Capone's huge public profile, very little first-hand info exists about his life and career--most of what we "know" is from sordid, sensationalized newspaper accounts. Kobler sifts through this stuff to provide a better rounded picture of Snorky and the many people around him. He's also very good about the sociology of Italian immigrants and how urban rackets evolved in American cities before and during Prohibition.

King of the Godfathers, by Anthony M. Destefano. More is known about Joe Massino than the earlier mobsters because of extensive media coverage and government records--including confessions and trials of turncoats. Destefano, an excellent writer, handles all this information in just the right amount of detail, helpful in making clear the many machinations of the Bonanno Family, and he does it in an evenhanded way. Many good photos, too.

Capone, by Lawrence Bergreen. This author isn't quite as succinct as Kobler, but he had access to some additional info on Scarface Al from family members--and plenty of not-seen-before photos. He's particularly good on details of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and the murder of Big Jim Colosimo.

Your favorites?



Ntra la porta tua lu sangu sparsu,
E nun me mporta si ce muoru accisu...
E s'iddu muoru e vaju mparadisu
Si nun ce truovo a ttia, mancu ce trasu.
Re: Best gangster biographies [Re: Turnbull] #993614
07/10/20 04:07 AM
07/10/20 04:07 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 44,798
DE NIRO Offline
DE NIRO  Offline

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 44,798
One particular book i enjoyed reading and is one of the better biographies is Accardo-The Genuine Godfather by William F Roemer .


The Mafia Is Not Primarily An Organisation Of Murderers.
First And Foremost,The Mafia Is Made Up Of Thieves.
It Is Driven By Greed And Controlled By Fear.

Between The Law And The Mafia, The Law Is Not The Most To Be Feared

"What if the Mafia were not an organization but a widespread Sicilian attitude of hostility towards the law?"

"Make Love Not War" John Lennon
Re: Best gangster biographies [Re: Turnbull] #993617
07/10/20 06:10 AM
07/10/20 06:10 AM
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 609
Word Wide
MolochioInduced Offline
Underboss
MolochioInduced  Offline
Underboss
Joined: Nov 2019
Posts: 609
Word Wide
Boss of Bosses about Provenzano was an interesting read.


In Sicily, women are more dangerous than the shotgun.
Re: Best gangster biographies [Re: MolochioInduced] #993781
07/14/20 01:33 AM
07/14/20 01:33 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 1,991
n.e.philly
hoodlum Offline
Underboss
hoodlum  Offline
Underboss
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 1,991
n.e.philly
Five Families// Selwyn Raab is 1 of my all time faves & Blood & Honor//George Anastasia


I didn't want to leave blood on your carpet...
Re: Best gangster biographies [Re: MolochioInduced] #995313
08/09/20 11:27 PM
08/09/20 11:27 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 527
tommykarate Offline
Underboss
tommykarate  Offline
Underboss
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 527
Very good book.check out men of dishonor.its pretty good to


One thing about wiseguys...the hustle never ends.-tony soprano
Re: Best gangster biographies [Re: tommykarate] #998287
10/15/20 09:39 AM
10/15/20 09:39 AM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 4,664
Where ever needed.
DuesPaid Offline
Underboss
DuesPaid  Offline
Underboss
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 4,664
Where ever needed.
Originally Posted by tommykarate
Very good book.check out men of dishonor.its pretty good to


TK....cannot find Men of Dishonor, could you tell me the author?


Be Loyal, Be Loving, Be Quiet.

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