When we think gangster, hood or wiseguy we often associate these characters with such names as Capone, Luciano or even Corleone. However, when organized crime reared its ugly head in the late 1920s in Brooklyn, at the foundation were men like Meyer Lansky and Ben Siegel--both Jews. Rich Cohen's romantic account of Jewish gangsters, Tough Jews
, brings to life the story of Jewish involvement in the world of organized crime. Cohen persuasively achieves his objective by recounting the stories he heard from his father, who grew up with his friends (including broadcaster Larry King) at the end of the gangster era in Brooklyn, finding heroes in men like "Kid Twist" Reles and Bugsy Goldstein. The intriguing tales Cohen heard, although slightly embellished over time, offer a rare glimpse into a world that can barely be related to today's generation of Jews living in America. These Jews went to prison for committing violent felonies, not white-collar crimes, and got the chair for it. Inspired by their stories, Cohen went on to conduct extensive research through old journals, police records, and court reports to uncover the real stories behind the tales he heard as a boy.
Cohen warmly discusses his father's fascination with these powerful, charismatic figures, and openly envies his experiences at a time before Jewish people lived under the debilitating shadow of the Holocaust. In addition, Cohen shows compassion for the need of his father's generation to look up to "someone who gives them the illusion of strength". --Jeremy Storey
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Exuberant. . .a vivid narrative. . . . Tough Jews brings familiar history back to life." --The New York Times "Warmly and affectionately rendered. . .these vignettes bring a lost generation of antiheroes to life." --The Boston Globe "Vivid and colorful. . .fascinating." --Los Angeles Times "If the Mafia has its Mario Puzo, the Jewish troops of Murder, Inc. deserve their Rich Cohen. . .entertaining, defiantly romantic." --Newsweek