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Gangland International [Paperback]

James Morton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Sep 1999

The first world-wide history of international gangs. James Morton starts with the turn of the century. He looks at the influential gangs and families such as the Five Families of New York, the Purple Gang from Detroit, Cleveland's Mayfield Road Gang, Boston's Winter Hill Gang and the Dixie Mafia. He also examines the careers of some of America's lesser known but highly successful luminaries such as the Pillow Gang from St Louis, whose leader always carried a cushion after being shot in the buttocks.

World-wide, Morton looks at a while range of gangs, large and small, such as the Green Gang of Shanghai, Rocco Perri of Toronto and the Zemour brothers in France, before turning to the rise of the South American drug cartels, the Russian Mafia, the Tongs and the Triads, the big Circle Boys and the Yakusa.

An unforgettable range of mobsters includes, of course, Capone, Dillinger, Lansky and Luciano, but also Slippers Incerto, so-called because his feet froze during a raid on a still in Colorado; Squizzy Taylor, the Australian Larrikin; the fearsome Dubois brothers of Montreal, and literally thousands more.

Product details

  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (2 Sep 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751522376
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751522372
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,434,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


An engrossing survey (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Bascially, everything you ever wanted to know about gangs and much, much more. (LATER)

James Morton rounds up the global scene with his usual efficiency... full of curious facts. (TIME OUT)

...manages to convey all this knowledge entertainingly and wittily, with an abundance of grimly apposite anecdotes...hugely enjoyable (Marcel Berlins, THE TIMES)

Book Description

* A definitive work of organised gangland crime.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gangland 12 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great book especially the New York and Chicago section very informative if you are interested in gangs and gangsters
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well researched but disappointing 27 Sep 2001
By A Customer
There is no doubting the amount of research that has gone into this book,it covers crime all over the globe from the early part of the century to the present day.the only problem is its not a very exciting read.As a reference work it is excellent but for someone looking to be entertained i found my interest waning well before the end.Perhaps the scope was too large as many of the individual stories and chapters are riveting,its just as a whole,ultimately a bit of a let down
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorough 12 Sep 2013
By Ivas A Gorzynski - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is pretty up-to-date and details some pretty nasty international gangland incidents with a clear, dispassionate prose (a bit the same way a gang member might shoot you in the face.) I needed it as a resource, and it suits that purpose.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful and Informative 5 Jan 2004
By A Customer - Published on
This book is immensly informative, from gangsters like Sicilian gangster Tony Accardo to black mobs and Russian Jews in the Mafiya like Michael Smushevich. This book also gives insight into the Polish gangsters in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. "Of course pre-war crime in Cleveland had not been wholly from the Italian and Jewish element. There were at least two major Polish-led gangs of robbers. One was the Flatheads led by Paul Jawarski. On 13 September 1928 when Jawarski and Frank "whitey" Kraft were caught in a restaurant, "whitey"-Kraft ran out the back but Jawarski holed up in Chambers Avenue. He was driven out by tear gas and was shot. It was not thought he would survive, but he did so. He has already shot a prison guard escaping from Pittsburgh, and was said to have killed up to 26 people including a former gang member who was also a drug addict. Jawarski, rather than see him suffer, threw his body in the river. Returned to Pennsylvania where he was electrocuted on 2 January, Jawarski declined the services of the prison chaplain, saying:
I preached atheim since the day I quit singing the choir. A man is yellow if he spends his life believing in nothing and then comes crawling to the church because he is afraid his death is near.
Shorty before his execution, Jawarski sent his friends a postcard with his future address - 45 Hellsfire Road, 6/14 miles from Hell. Father Pat O'Brien would not have used him as an example. Frank "Whitey" Kraft was later killed by police in Detroit.
The other main Polish group, the Flats Mob, was led by Joseph Filkowski. In October 1930 he and two colleagues were suprised by a patroling policeman when they held up the Dixie Shoe Company, and then relieved him of his gun and uniform. This was not an action which endeared them to the police, but Filkowski's friend Joseph Stazek was shot dead by detectives on 7 December 1930. A day earlier, Filkowski had escaped a police trap. Worse was yet to come, for on 9 December Joseph Fortini, district circulation manager of the Plain Dealer, was shot by Patrolman Patrick McNeely in mistake for Filkowski, so beginning a long-drawn-out and effectively unresolved inquiry into use of police firearms. Filkowski was later caught and executed. Others in the gang received life imprisonment. Filkowski, known as John Blake, has his death mask in the Cleveland Police History Museum.
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