Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 1-5

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Prologue

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pp. 1-6

The patient admitted to Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center, Chicago, on May 14, 1992, was an eighty-six-year-old retired businessman, grayhaired, feeble, and dying from congestive heart failure and acute respiratory failure. There was little the doctors could do to save him, and his...

Part I. The Rise

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pp. 7-15

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Chapter 1. The Big Fellow in the Windy City

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pp. 9-30

“Honey, you have a nice ass, and I mean that as a compliment.” The year was 1917, the place was the Harvard Inn, a bar and restaurant in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, and the speaker of these unwelcome comments was a young waiter, Alphonse Capone, who had been eyeing the...

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Chapter 2. Big Battles in the Big Apple

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pp. 31-60

New York City in the 1920s is an iconic place and time in American memory. With six million people, it was the largest city in the nation. Chorus girls danced at the Ziegfeld Follies, nightclub hostess Texas Guinan greeted tipsy partiers with a cheery “Hello, suckers,” Babe Ruth smacked out home...

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Chapter 3. Smaller Cities

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pp. 61-76

New York and Chicago were the biggest cities and the biggest crime centers in America during the Prohibition era, but the wave of crime extended to smaller cities as well. The underworld conducted business and adapted the roles of different ethnic groups in three urban centers: Detroit, where one...

Part II. Atlantic City Interlude

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pp. 77-84

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Chapter 4. Gangsters in the Surf [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 79-96

From Monday, May 13, to Thursday, May 16, in 1929, top gangsters in the Prohibition generation came to Atlantic City for a conference. Spring in the resort town was a perfect time for the gathering; the temperature was in the comfortable upper 50s, and the summer vacation season with its tens...

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Chapter 5. The Conference as Comedy

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pp. 97-106

No matter how it has been interpreted the May 1929 Atlantic City Conference was serious business. But it has spilled over into two comedic classics, one a short story by a noted American writer and the other a celebrated Hollywood movie....

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Chapter 6. Capone's Long Trip Home

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pp. 107-116

The story told in the Inquirer and other Philly papers described how Capone and his bodyguard Frankie Rio appeared in the city the previous evening when they stepped off a train from the Jersey Shore. Two alert detectives from the Philadelphia City Hall Detective Bureau, James...

Part III. The Fall

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pp. 117-131

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Chapter 7. The Twilight of the Gangster

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pp. 119-127

The gangsters who attended the May 1929 conference in Atlantic City looked toward the future of their criminal enterprises. But they never anticipated a cataclysmic event that took place just five months later. In October 1929 the stock market crashed, killing the prosperity and high spirits that had...

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Chapter 8. Pay Your Taxes

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pp. 128-151

Manley Sullivan was thirty- nine years old in 1921, a hard- working resident of Charleston, South Carolina. He sometimes sold cars and tractors, but his basic line of work was selling bootleg liquor to his fellow Carolinians. His 1921 estimated income for that activity was ten thousand dollars, handsome...

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Chapter 9. Lucky v Dewey

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pp. 152-170

Early in the morning of October 17, 1929, Patrolman Blanke stationed in the Staten Island fishing village of Prince’s Bay saw a disheveled man staggering down the road. Officer Blanke could see that the man had been savagely beaten, his eyes were swollen and bruised, and he had slash wounds...

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Chapter 10. Shot to Death

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pp. 171-196

Prosecuting the crime lords for income tax evasion was an effective way for lawmen to put gangsters out of commission. But mobsters’ more immediate and cheaper strategy for eliminating their rivals— shooting them to death— did not require any expenses for courts, judges, accountants, and...

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Chapter 11. Lepke on the Hot Seat

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pp. 197-212

Louis Lepke Buchalter was the “intelligent Hebrew” who became the master of the labor racket in New York, primarily in the city’s garment industry (see chapter 3). By the 1930s he had branched out beyond the needle trades to bakeries and flour truckers. He was a leading crime figure; among...

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Chapter 12. For Them, Crime did Pay

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pp. 213-222

Many members of the Prohibition generation passed from the scene prematurely: Al Capone, who died a syphilitic death; Longie Zwillman, a suicide in his basement; Lepke Buchalter, strapped into the electric chair; Albert Anastasia, shot to death in a barbershop; and the Lonardo and Porrello...

Cast of Characters

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pp. 223-230

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A Note on Sources

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pp. 231-232

The first sentence in the first chapter in this book has waiter Al Capone say to Lena Gallucio, a female customer at a Brooklyn restaurant, “‘You got a nice ass, honey, and I mean it as a compliment. Believe me.’” This quote comes from William Balsamo’s interview with Lena’s brother Frank, which appeared in an article in the...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 233-234

The task of doing research has been vastly improved by digital age tools such as ProQuest, Google Archives, and WorldCat. But people still make the difference, and I want to thank the library and agency staff members who assisted me: at the Library of Congress, Kristi L. Finefield; National Archives, Richard W. Peuser...

Notes

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pp. 235-248

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 249-258

Index

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pp. 259-266

About the Author

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pp. 267-279