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Get Capone!: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (27 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400115310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400115310
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.8 x 13.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,860,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Eig is the best-selling author of "Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig" and "Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season." His next book, "Get Capone," is coming soon from Simon & Schuster. Eig is a former senior writer for The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Chicago with his wife and children. For more information, go to www.getcapone.com or wwww.jonathaneig.com.

Product Description

Review

"Riveting. . . . Eig's book is full of fascinating details about the Windy City, as well as the rest of America in the 1920s." --Elizabeth Bennett, "Dallas Morning News" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book. It is written like a novel but is factually based. This makes it interesting and entertaining at the same time. There is an interesting take on the St. Valentines Day Massacre, attributed to Capone but disputed by the author. The book is written in a sympathetic way to Capone, by an author who appears in awe of his 'achievements'. I would recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in Capone. It gives a fascinating insight into an area of american history that will never be forgotten, but hopefully not repeated.
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By W. R. Robinson on 29 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best biographies I have read. It is full of new facts, and gives a different slant on the tabloid image of Al Capone. It feels more like the genuine article. The St Valentine's massacre and Al Capone are linked forever - however, Get Capone suggests that Capone may have had nothing to do with it - sort that one out!
Anyway a very good read and I recommend it to those who, like me like American gangsterism.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 71 reviews
40 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant: the best book on organized crime in years 24 April 2010
By Timothy S. Hays - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This thoroughly-researched, richly explicative history of Al Capone and his times should be in the library of anyone who enjoys reading about 20th Century crime, and its roots; Al Capone, Prohibition, or Chicago-- it is authoritative on all counts. "Get Capone" is excellently written, and painstakingly produced, without a fault. The author knows his economic history, too: his contrast of Capone's Chicago with the excesses of Wall Street are succinct.
"Get Capone" lays to rest the myth of Eliot Ness, whose role in convicting Al Capone has been greatly over-romanticized since the 1950s. Jonathan Eig rightly credits the quieter law enforcement figures who ended Capone's crime career. Eig is a scholar who recaptures Pres. Herbert Hoover's role in chasing Chicago's gangsters.
If you enjoyed Bryan Burrough's "Public Enemies," you will love this book.
For that matter, if you enjoyed "Luckiest Man" as much as my two sons and I did, "Get Capone" is another book for your permanent library. Jonathan Eig is a biographer on a par with Evan Thomas, Walter Isaacson, or Robert Caro.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
A Riveting All-American Parable of Ambition, Violence, and Punishment 29 April 2010
By Joel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Get Capone is a truly riveting piece of work. It succeeds equally well as: a gin and morality-laced tale of an anti-hero's rise and fall; a nuanced social history of America roaring into modernity; and a page-turning detective thriller about crime-fighting on the cusp of the age of CSI.

Not only does every page of the book advance an incredibly compelling narrative, but it is also full of snappy language - alternatively poetic, hysterical, and profound -- that makes this book a literally delight but never distracts from its central story.

Here are just two of my favorite passages:

"The Great War was over. Men were back home, maybe a little shell-shocked, maybe a little bored, certainly thirsty."

"(Herbert Hoover's) father was a blacksmith, a pious man, with a hot dash of American ambition."

Eig is extraordinarily careful to separate provable fact from the massive tumult of myth and conjecture that still surrounds Capone's life, but he is nevertheless able to masterfully portray Capone as a complex figure who is alternatively ruthless, pathetic, funny, managerially brilliant, and tone-death to the real-life consequences of both his media pronouncements and his chosen profession. Decades before Tony Soprano ended up on Dr. Jennifer Melfi's couch, Eig gives us a multi-faceted portrayal of Capone's ever-fascinating psyche.
57 of 77 people found the following review helpful
Very well researched 7 May 2010
By Deirdre Marie Capone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
My Uncle Al Capone was quoted in the newspapers during his botched up 1931 trial as saying:

"I've got a mother who never misses mass unless she's too sick to get out of bed. I've a wife who loves me as dearly as any woman could love a man. They have feelings. They are hurt by what the newspapers say about me. And I can't tell you what it does to my twelve-year-old son when the other school children, cruel as they are, keep showing him newspaper stories that call me a killer or worse."

"I was willing to go to jail. I could have taken my stretch, come back to my wife and child, and lived my own life. But I'm being hounded by a public that won't give me a fair chance. They want a full show, all the courtroom trappings, the hue and cry, and all the rest. It's utterly impossible for a man of my age to have done all the things I'm charged with. I'm a spook, born of a million minds."

Author Jonathan Eig has done a very good job at researching and reporting some big errors in most of the previously written biographies on Al Capone and his era. I know my cousin Theresa is upset that another book has been written about her grandfather, but unlike Theresa I have read all of the previous books and I have also read Mr. Eigs'. Get Capone gives the reader an understanding of what life was like in the 20"s. It was a time of "kill or be killed". It is not easy for a family member to read such details.

Let's look at the facts. When my grandmother and grandfather immigrated to this country and settled in Brooklyn, the Italians were the low men on the totem pole. What chance did most of them have to be a lawyer or a doctor. The teachers in the schools complained about having them in their class calling them lazy and even claiming they smelled `greazy'. My grandmother arrived with two small boys and pregnant with her third. Six more children were born in Brooklyn.

Al Capone had a chance to succeed at a business he could run and run well. He was once described as a Rockefeller wearing a shoulder holster. There is another quote from my uncle that describes him very well. "This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it."

Mr Eig also gives the reader new information about the St. Valentine's Day event. This information was given to me by my grandfather. I wish it would have been public a long time ago. It would have made a huge difference in my life and in the lives of each Capone family member. I am sure I would have had my dad around for many more years.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The Ultimate Capone Biography 1 May 2010
By Bill Emblom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Jonathan Eig has written three books and all of them have been blockbusters. I have two biographies on Al Capone, and both of them are worthy additions to one's library. However, Eig's latest effort on the infamous Chicago gangster tops them all. I initially wondered what his biography could offer that wasn't in the previous two I have in my library, and I have been anxiously anticipating the release of this book. Mr. Eig's biography is not a rehash of the gangland killings that took place during the 1920s, although they obviously must play a part. In addition to interviewing several members of the Capone family author Eig had access to papers that previous Capone authors did not. I also enjoy the author's unique writing style in describing the various incidents throughout the book. An example would be the death of Hymie Weiss on North State Street next to the Holy Name Cathedral. We have heard several versions on what actually took place and who was involved in the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre, and author Eig has his own theory based on a letter written in 1935. It is quite interesting and could very well answer several previously unanswered questions. Perhaps Capone wasn't involved at all.

The main heroes of the book are the incorruptible U.S. Attorney George E. Q. Johnson and Frank Wilson of the U.S. Bureau of Internal Revenue who built the case against Al Capone. Being unable to obtain a conviction for the numerous murders attributable to Capone they achieved a conviction on a lesser charge, that on income tax evasion. This is now done routinely in courtrooms today.

Unlike Capone's mentor, Johnny Torrio, Capone had a weakness of not maintaining a low profile. Does John Gotti come to mind? The city of Chicago acquired an image of a gangster on every corner blasting someone away with the gun that made the twenties roar. This was a reputation the city didn't want to project to tourists.

We also get to know the personalities of several of the decade's role players quite well. Jack "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, Johnny Torrio, George "Bugs" Moran, and Crooked Mayor "Big Bill the Builder" Thompson to name a few. Use your imagination and you can see that, yes, Thompson DID resemble a pigeon. Cemetery connoisseurs may want to pay a visit to the Mount Carmel Cemetery located in the western Chicago suburb of Hillside where several of these gangsters, including Capone, are buried.

As an aside to the author who may want to make a few minor corrections in the paperback edition of the book: Page 101 (near the bottom the word "with" is repeated), page 213 (near the bottom the word "known" should be "know"), and page 286 the last paragraph (the first sentence the first "was" should be omitted). Finally on the top of page 168 one of the murder twins Albert Anselmi, is incorrectly referred to as "Robert." In no way do these errors detract from the book. I simply put them here in case he may want to make corrections in the paperback.

Author Jonathan Eig has written books on two of my favorite subjects, baseball and true crime. I have come to know that his books are of superior quality and I can't wait to see what he has in store for us next. He is quite simply my favorite author.
22 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Not what I expected. 27 Jun. 2010
By Mario Gomes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've dedicated 23 years to this subject and quite honestly, I can't vouch for this one at all. It just didn't move me as Schoenberg's or Kobler's Capone book did. This book comes off as though it was written for someone who hasn't any prior knowledge of Capone. I can see that some honestly gave it 5 stars by stating that the subject isn't their thing, but that they enjoyed the book all and all, which is a fair thing to say. On the other hand, for the experienced at this subject, the book simply has revamped old liners from past Capone biographies written in Eig's fluffy style. I'll honestly admit that the guy can write, the photos and his writing can make it easy to swallow, but the research and errors made me cringe several times. Especially the far fetched massacre theory. White had no reason to kill the Gusenbergs, nor Moran in revenge because White's cousin Billy Davern, was himself a Northsider and was most probably whacked by Jack McGurn as Goddard's ballistic records show. Other Police records show that Jack White was in prison at the time of the massacre for killing a cop and not for stealing hubcaps. No one in the jail system would take the chance of letting a cop killer out to whack 7 people and go back in. This especially after the Lake and Druggan scandal in 1925. The jail keepers ended up doing jail time for that mess up. If this new theory was even remotely true, then White would have fled on the spot and never would have returned to jail.
I have seen no proof in his book to make me believe otherwise than the already accepted facts of Burke and company as the massacre killers. Eig doesn't attempt to explain away all this proven evidence to dissuade the current train of thought of historybuff readers. As far as Al not having anything to do with it? A person couldn't pass gas in Chicago without Al having knowledge of it. Al had paid eyes and ears all over the city by paying lookouts in shop keepers, shoeshine boys and newspaper stand owners. Also you would need to explain Al's wise move in being interrogated by Florida officials at the exact time the massacre was going down.

The tax thing? No secret plot here! The trial is well described by Eig, but nothing new as the Government had been hunting down gangsters via the tax angle for years before they ever came after big Al. Nitti, Guzik, Ralph Capone, Druggan and Lake all went up to bat on the same tax beef and all lost against the Government. If one thing was biased against Al, then it was the sentence. Way exaggerated, but necessary to make an example of him for the others remaining. Alot of people hated or were jealous of Al, especially since his face graced the cover of Time in March of 1930.

Other disappointments with this book were erroneous info, photo captions. EX: Mae Capone had an overbite and had to settle for Al because she wouldn't have another chance to marry another man? I thought she was rather quite good looking, as do most people who email me. Moran a dimwit? Can't be all that dumb if he once ran businesses and outlasted all his rivals. He had the many battle scars to prove it. Joe Howard's murder wasn't all that dramatic. Capone sent in his guy named Tony Bagnio to make sure Howard was nice and drunk beforehand. Howard was a cheapskate and couldn't refuse drinks offered by Capone's spotter. All Capone had to do was walk in and shoot him.

I'm glad I didn't invest $30 on this book. I got mine for 95 cents on ebay. Invest your money on other fine books dealing with the Capone trial such as The Trial of Al Capone by Robert Ross, Frank Wilson; The Man Who Got Capone by Frank Speiring, Al Capone and the Crime Crusaders by Dennis E. Hoffman. The latter fine book is written by the Professor which Eig bought the George E. Q. Johnson papers from.
In my opinion, and at this stage, another book on Capone wasn't really needed.

Again, only history and time will tell. This guy lists me in the credits of his book. I helped in no part, nor would I ever want to be associated to someone who has one of my Capone family photos (Mae and Sonny in the 1970's) on his website without my permission or credit. Getting it from someone else (Deirdre Capone, for whom it was solely intended) without my permission, does not make it at all okay. It just shows what a class act this guy is!

Mario Gomes
Myalcaponemuseum
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