Book picks similar to
The Dillinger Days by John Toland
John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal
Dary Matera - 2004
John Dillinger is an adrenaline-fueled narrative that reignites America's fascination with the suave but deadly desperado who was the FBI's first "Public Enemy." Dubbed "The Jackrabbit" because of the way he leaped over bank cages and railings, Dillinger and his bank-robbing gang cut a criminal swath yet to be equaled. They became so famous in the 1930s that throngs of excited spectators would block the route to their getaway cars. When caught, Dillinger staged the most harrowing prison escapes imaginable—only to finally be betrayed by the infamous "Lady in Red." John Dillinger brings to light new information, including bank robberies never before reported; detailed plans for major crimes that Dillinger nearly implemented; the revelation that the "Lady in Red" was actually a police plant; and the startling fact that John Dillinger was summarily executed by rogue FBI agents being manipulated by East Chicago detectives desperate to cover up widespread police corruption. With access to thousands of detailed accounts, and pages of telling photographs, Matera's definitive book describes every robbery, shoot-out, and prison escape as though he choreographed them himself.
The Mob and the City: The Hidden History of How the Mafia Captured New York
C. Alexander Hortis - 2014
Based on exhaustive research of archives and secret files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, author and attorney C. Alexander Hortis draws on the deepest collection of primary sources, many newly discovered, of any history of the modern mob.Shattering myths, Hortis reveals how Cosa Nostra actually obtained power at the inception. The author goes beyond conventional who-shot-who mob stories, providing answers to fresh questions such as: * Why did the Sicilian gangs come out on top of the criminal underworld? * Can economics explain how the Mafia families operated? * What was the Mafia's real role in the drug trade? * Why was Cosa Nostra involved in gay bars in New York since the 1930s? Drawing on an unprecedented array of primary sources, The Mob and the City is the most thorough and authentic history of the Mafia's rise to power in the early-to-mid twentieth century.
I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank the Irishman Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa
Charles Brandt - 2004
The paint is the blood that splatters on the walls and floors. In the course of nearly five years of recorded interviews Frank Sheeran confessed to Charles Brandt that he handled more than twenty-five hits for the mob, and for his friend Hoffa. Sheeran learned to kill in the U.S. Army, where he saw an astonishing 411 days of active combat duty in Italy during World War II. After returning home he became a hustler and hit man, working for legendary crime boss Russell Bufalino. Eventually he would rise to a position of such prominence that in a RICO suit then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani would name him as one of only two non-Italians on a list of 26 top mob figures. When Bufalino ordered Sheeran to kill Hoffa, he did the deed, knowing that if he had refused he would have been killed himself. Sheeran's important and fascinating story includes new information on other famous murders, and provides rare insight to a chapter in American history. Charles Brandt has written a page-turner that is destined to become a true crime classic.
Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34
Bryan Burrough - 2004
Edgar Hoover’s FBI to tell the full story—for the first time—of the most spectacular crime wave in American history, the two-year battle between the young Hoover and the assortment of criminals who became national icons: John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, and the Barkers. In an epic feat of storytelling and drawing on a remarkable amount of newly available material on all the major figures involved, Burrough reveals a web of interconnections within the vast American underworld and demonstrates how Hoover’s G-men overcame their early fumbles to secure the FBI’s rise to power.
Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin
Hampton Sides - 2010
Fashioning himself Eric Galt, this nondescript thief and con man—whose real name was James Earl Ray—drifted through the South, into Mexico, and then Los Angeles, where he was galvanized by George Wallace’s racist presidential campaign. On February 1, 1968, two Memphis garbage men were crushed to death in their hydraulic truck, provoking the exclusively African American workforce to go on strike. Hoping to resuscitate his faltering crusade, King joined the sanitation workers’ cause, but their march down Beale Street, the historic avenue of the blues, turned violent. Humiliated, King fatefully vowed to return to Memphis in April. With relentless storytelling drive, Sides follows Galt and King as they crisscross the country, one stalking the other, until the crushing moment at the Lorraine Motel when the drifter catches up with his prey. Against the backdrop of the resulting nationwide riots and the pathos of King’s funeral, Sides gives us a riveting cross-cut narrative of the assassin’s flight and the sixty-five-day search that led investigators to Canada, Portugal, and England—a massive manhunt ironically led by Hoover’s FBI.
The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the American Mafia
Mike Dash - 2009
organized crime for a bloody half century, there was the one-fingered criminal genius Giuseppe Morello–known as “The Clutch Hand”–and his lethal coterie of associates. In The First Family, historian, journalist, and New York Times bestselling author Mike Dash brings to life this little-known story, following the rise of the Mafia in America from the 1890s to the 1920s, from the lawless villages of Sicily to the streets of Little Italy. Using an impressive array of primary sources–hitherto untapped Secret Service archives, prison records, trial transcripts, and interviews with surviving family members–this is the first Mafia history that applies scholarly rigor to the story of the Morello syndicate and the birth of organized crime on these shores.Progressing from small-time scams to counterfeiting rings to even bigger criminal enterprises, Giuseppe Morello exerted ruthless control of Italian neighborhoods in New York, and through adroit coordination with other Sicilian crime families, his Clutch Hand soon reached far beyond the Hudson River.The men who battled Morello’s crews were themselves colorful and legendary figures, including William Flynn, a fearless Secret Service agent, and Lieutenant Detective Giuseppe “Joe” Petrosino of the New York Police Department’s elite Italian Squad, whose pursuit of the brutal gangs ultimately cost him his life. Combining first-rate scholarship and pulse-quickening action, and set amid rustic Sicilian landscapes and the streets of old New York, The First Family is a groundbreaking account of the crucial period when the American criminal underworld exploded with violent fury across the nation.
Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago
Max Allan Collins - 2018
READS LIKE A NOVEL." — Chicago magazine • "AN EXTRAORDINARY ACHIEVEMENT." — Sara ParetskyIn 1929, thirty-year-old gangster Al Capone ruled both Chicago's underworld and its corrupt government. To a public who scorned Prohibition, "Scarface" became a local hero and national celebrity. But after the brutal St. Valentine's Day Massacre transformed Capone into "Public Enemy Number One," the federal government found an unlikely new hero in a twenty-seven-year-old Prohibition agent named Eliot Ness. Chosen to head the legendary law enforcement team known as "The Untouchables," Ness set his sights on crippling Capone's criminal empire.Today, no underworld figure is more iconic than Al Capone and no lawman as renowned as Eliot Ness. Yet in 2016 the Chicago Tribune wrote, "Al Capone still awaits the biographer who can fully untangle, and balance, the complexities of his life," while revisionist historians have continued to misrepresent Ness and his remarkable career.Enter Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz, a unique and vibrant writing team combining the narrative skill of a master novelist with the scholarly rigor of a trained historian. Collins is the New York Times bestselling author of the gangster classic Road to Perdition. Schwartz is a rising-star historian whose work anticipated the fake-news phenomenon.Scarface and the Untouchable draws upon decades of primary source research—including the personal papers of Ness and his associates, newly released federal files, and long-forgotten crime magazines containing interviews with the gangsters and G-men themselves. Collins and Schwartz have recaptured a bygone bullet-ridden era while uncovering the previously unrevealed truth behind Scarface's downfall. Together they have crafted the definitive work on Capone, Ness, and the battle for Chicago.
Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba & Then Lost it to the Revolution
T.J. English - 2007
In Havana Nocturne, T.J. English offers a multifaceted true tale of organized crime, political corruption, roaring nightlife, revolution & international conflict that interweaves the dual stories of the Mob in Havana & the event that would overshadow it, the Cuban Revolution.As the Cuban people labored under a violently repressive regime throughout the 50s, Mob leaders Meyer Lansky & Charles "Lucky" Luciano turned their eye to Havana. To them, Cuba was the ultimate dream, the greatest hope for the future of the US Mob in the post-Prohibition years of intensified government crackdowns. But when it came time to make their move, it was Lansky, the brilliant Jewish mobster, who reigned supreme. Having cultivated strong ties with the Cuban government & in particular the brutal dictator Fulgencio Batista, Lansky brought key mobsters to Havana to put his ambitious business plans in motion. Before long, the Mob, with Batista's corrupt government in its pocket, owned the biggest luxury hotels & casinos in Havana, launching an unprecedented tourism boom complete with the most lavish entertainment, the world's biggest celebrities, the most beautiful women & gambling galore. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara & others who would lead the country's disenfranchised to overthrow their corrupt government & its foreign partners—an epic cultural battle that English captures in all its sexy, decadent, ugly glory. Bringing together long-buried historical information with English's own research in Havana—including interviews with the era's key survivors—Havana Nocturne takes readers back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil's playground for mob leaders. English deftly weaves together the parallel stories of the Havana Mob—featuring notorious criminals such as Santo Trafficante Jr & Albert Anastasia—& Castro's 26th of July Movement in a riveting, up-close look at how the Mob nearly attained its biggest dream in Havana—& how Fidel Castro trumped it all with the revolution.
American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst
Jeffrey Toobin - 2016
The weird turns that followed in this already sensational take are truly astonishing--the Hearst family tried to secure Patty's release by feeding the people of Oakland and San Francisco for free; bank security cameras captured "Tania" wielding a machine gun during a roberry; the LAPD engaged in the largest police shoot-out in American history; the first breaking news event was broadcast live on telelvision stations across the country; and then there was Patty's circuslike trial, filled with theatrical courtroom confrontations and a dramatic last-minute reversal, after which the term "Stockholm syndrome" entered the lexicon. Ultimately, the saga highlighted a decade in which America seemed to be suffering a collective nervous breakdown.
My Life with Bonnie and Clyde
Blanche Caldwell Barrow - 2004
But they did not act alone. In 1933, during their infamous run from the law, Bonnie and Clyde were joined by Clyde’s brother Buck Barrow and his wife Blanche. Of these four accomplices, only one—Blanche Caldwell Barrow—lived beyond early adulthood and only Blanche left behind a written account of their escapades. Edited by outlaw expert John Neal Phillips, Blanche’s previously unknown memoir is here available for the first time.Blanche wrote her memoir between 1933 and 1939, while serving time at the Missouri State Penitentiary. Following her death, Blanche’s good friend and the executor of her will, Esther L. Weiser, found the memoir wrapped in a large unused Christmas card. Later she entrusted it to Phillips, who had interviewed Blanche several times before her death. Drawing from these interviews, and from extensive research into Depression-era outlaw history, Phillips supplements the memoir with helpful notes and with biographical information about Blanche and her accomplices.
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple
Jeff Guinn - 2017
His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California. He became involved in electoral politics, and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader.In this riveting narrative, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to a settlement in the jungles of Guyana in South America. Guinn provides stunning new details of the events leading to the fatal day in November, 1978 when more than nine hundred people died—including almost three hundred infants and children—after being ordered to swallow a cyanide-laced drink.Guinn examined thousands of pages of FBI files on the case, including material released during the course of his research. He traveled to Jones’s Indiana hometown, where he spoke to people never previously interviewed, and uncovered fresh information from Jonestown survivors. He even visited the Jonestown site with the same pilot who flew there the day that Congressman Leo Ryan was murdered on Jones’s orders. The Road to Jonestown is the definitive book about Jim Jones and the events that led to the tragedy at Jonestown.
A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership
James Comey - 2018
His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.Mr. Comey served as Director of the FBI from 2013 to 2017, appointed to the post by President Barack Obama. He previously served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the U.S. deputy attorney general in the administration of President George W. Bush. From prosecuting the Mafia and Martha Stewart to helping change the Bush administration's policies on torture and electronic surveillance, overseeing the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation as well as ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, Comey has been involved in some of the most consequential cases and policies of recent history.
Murder, Inc.: The Story Of The Syndicate
Burton B. Turkus - 1972
Murder, Inc. is the book that exposed the Syndicate to the eyes of the world. First published in 1951, it rose to the top of the best-seller list, but later fell out-of-print. Now, here is a new edition of the classic that tells all about the great gangsters of the late ’30s and ’40s: Frank Costello, Louis ”Lepke” Buchalter, Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Buggsy Siegel, Johnny Torrio, Willie Sutton, Joey Adonis, Dutch Schultz. Here are the stories of how Pittsburgh Phil and Buggsy Goldstein literally set Puggy Feinstein on fire; how and why Kid Twist Reles sang to the D.A. for twelve straight days, confessing dozens of murders; how the killers’ boss, Albert Anastasia, slipped through the arms of the law.From the highest levels of the U.S. government down to the lowest levels of street crime, the Syndicate infiltrated American life. Murder, Inc. tells how it was formally organized by the nation’s ranking mob lords at the end of Prohibition to control all crime, from gambling to crooked politics to labor extortion and murder. It describes the carefully built organization with its board of governors and its kangaroo court, and shows how this massive and powerful organization was finally broken.For it was only from the murderers themselves that the truth could be learned. And no man was more qualified to tell the whole story than Burton Turkus, the Brooklyn assistant D.A. who listened to the killers’ tales and who sent seven of them to the electric chair. Together with Sid Feder, a veteran journalist, they produced Murder, Inc., the definitive work on the most dangerous group of gangsters the law has ever known.
Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation Into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints
Sam Brower - 2011
Only one man can reveal the whole, astounding truth: Sam Brower, the private investigator who devoted years of his life to breaking open the secret practices of the FLDS and bringing Warren Jeffs and his inner circle to justice. In Prophet's Prey, Brower implicates Jeffs in his own words, bringing to light the contents of Jeffs's personal priesthood journal, discovered in a hidden underground vault, and revealing to readers the shocking inside world of FLDS members, whose trust he earned and who showed him the staggering truth of their lives.Prophet's Prey offers the gripping, behind-the-scenes account of a bizarre world from the only man who knows the full story.
For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Chicago
Simon Baatz - 2008
Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were intellectual--too smart, they believed, for the police to catch them. When they were apprehended, state's attorney Robert Crowe was certain that no defense could save the ruthless killers from the gallows. But the families of the confessed murderers hired Clarence Darrow, entrusting the lives of their sons to the most famous lawyer in America in what would be one of the most sensational criminal trials in the history of American justice.Set against the backdrop of the 1920s--a time of prosperity, self-indulgence, and hedonistic excess in a lawless city on the brink of anarchyâ€”For the Thrill of It draws the reader into a world of speakeasies and flappers, of gangsters and gin parties, with a spellbinding narrative of Jazz Age murder and mystery.