Here is the shocking true saga of the Irish American mob, from the mid-nineteenth century all the way to the present day. History shows that the heritage of the Irish American gangster was established in America long before that of the more widely portrayed Italian American mafioso, and has held strong through the modern age. In fact, the highest-ranking organized crime figure on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List -- alongside Osama bin Laden -- is not a wiseguy, a Latin King, or a gangbanging Blood or Crip, but an old-style Irish American mob boss from South Boston.
In Paddy Whacked, bestselling author and organized crime expert T. J. English brings to life nearly two centuries of Irish American gangsterism, which spawned such unforgettable characters as Mike "King Mike" McDonald, Chicago's subterranean godfather; Big Bill Dwyer, New York's most notorious rumrunner during Prohibition; Mickey Featherstone, troubled Vietnam vet turned Westies gang leader from Hell's Kitchen; and James "Whitey" Bulger, the ruthless and untouchable Southie legend. This is an epic story of corrupt politics, wanton murders, gambling empires, notorious brothels, tough women, and hard-drinking pugilists from the underbelly of America's most dangerous cities -- including New York, Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City, and Cleveland.
Combining storytelling verve with thorough research and a slew of never-before-published material -- including new interviews with former gang members -- English presents a riveting, seamless cultural history of the Irish American underworld. He offers a brilliant portrait of a people who fought tooth and nail for a better life from the moment they arrived in America, whether it meant taking charge within the realms of law enforcement and politics -- from Tammany Hall to the White House -- or capitalizing on what opportunities they could in the darker world beyond the law. Paddy Whacked is an irresistible tour of the undercarriage of our history -- a ride that stretches from the earliest New York and New Orleans street wars through decades of bootlegging scams, union strikes, gang wars, and FBI investigations ... and along the way deepens our understanding of the American experience.
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T. J. English is a noted journalist, a screenwriter, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Havana Nocturne, Paddy Whacked, and The Savage City, as well as of The Westies, a national bestseller, and Born to Kill, which was nominated for an Edgar Award. He has written for Vanity Fair, Playboy, and Esquire, among other publications. His screenwriting credits include episodes of the television crime dramas NYPD Blue and Homicide, for which he was awarded the Humanitas Prize. He lives in New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
The American mob has long been seen as run by Italians and their henchmen. Edgar-nominee English (Born to Kill) sets the record straight, emphasizing that Irish ingenuity first established the mob in the U.S. Close to two million Irish inundated the American Northeast in the aftermath of the Irish famine of the 1840s. "[T]he formation of a gang," writes English, "carried with it the whiff of a noble gesture," and the Irish personality--full of resentment, rebellion, suspicion and clannishness--mixed with poverty proved to be perfect for this new way of life. Prohibition--the high point for the Irish mob in America--first was viewed by the Irish as a WASP attack on their way of life, and eventually as a way to get rich. But Prohibition was also the beginning of the end of super-Irish gangsters. English covers the bootlegging escapades of Joseph P. Kennedy and--number one on the FBI Most Wanted List--Boston's Whitey Bulger. But there are also colorful details about the likes of "Mad Dog" Coll, "Two Gun" Crowley and mayors Walker of New York and Curley of Boston. This is an intense, erudite yet sometimes horrifying account of violent Celtic criminals who make the Dead End Kids look like choirboys. 16 pages of b&w photos. Agent, Nat Sobel. (Feb. 15)
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