Good review for “American Gangsters Then and Now: An Encyclopedia”

Someone liked my book: “American Gangsters”

American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia ranges from Western outlaws revered as Robin Hoods to the Depression’s flamboyant bootleggers and bank robbers to the late 20th century’s drug kingpins and “Dapper Dons.” It is the first comprehensive resource on the gangster’s historical evolution and unshakable grip on the American imagination.

American Gangsters, Then and Now tells the stories of a number of famous gangsters and gangs—Jesse James and Billy the Kid, the Black Hand, Al Capone, Sonny Barger and the Hell’s Angels, the Mafia, Crips and Bloods, and more. Avoiding sensationalism, the straightforward entries include biographical portraits and historical background for each subject, as well as accounts of infamous robberies, killings, and other events, all well documented with both archival newspapers and extensive research into the files of the FBI. Readers will understand the families, the places, and the times that produced these monumental criminals, as well as the public mindset that often found them sympathetic and heroic.

4.0 out of 5 stars October 24, 2011
Michael OConnor “Wordsmith” (Wausau, WI USA) – See all my reviews

This review is from: American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia (Hardcover)
Crime writer Nate Hendley takes readers on a magical misery tour of crime and criminals in this 2010 ABC Clio book. Though pitched as a reference source, AMERICAN GANGSTERS, THEN AND NOW has a breezy, informative style that entertains as it educates. Hendley’s book will be enjoyed by crime buffs and students doing reports alike.

Arranged alphabetically, AMERICAN GANGSTERS, THEN AND NOW examines 40-odd gangsters, criminal organizations such as the Dead Rabbits, the Mafia, the Purple Gang, Crips & Bloods and Murder Inc., and related crime topics like the Drug Trade, the Numbers Racket, Prohibition, Jewish Gangsters, etc.

The individuals included in this rogue’s gallery are an eclectic bunch with “classic gangsters” such as Capone, Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Dion O’Bannion and ‘Bugsy’ Siegel profiled along with more modern bad guys like ‘Sonny’ Barger, John Gotti, Henry Hill and ‘Tookie’ Williams.

Interstingly enough, Jesse James and Billy the Kid also made the cut. Silly me; I never attached the ‘gangster’ label to those two. Since Hendley defines a gangster as “someone who controls or participates in a criminal organization that uses violence and illicit means to amass money and power,” serial killers, mass murderers, white collar criminals, violent cult leaders, etc. are excluded.

Entries range from two pages to fifteen or more. Capone, for instance, gets a 17-page write-up. Almost all entries feature at least one photograph. A list of “Further Readings” is included should readers want to further explore that topic.

All in all, AMERICAN GANGSTERS, NOW AND THEN is an enjoyable, informative summary of some infamous individuals and organizations that have plagued American society over the years. Recommended.

American Gangsters –

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