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The Westies: Inside New York's Irish Mob Paperback – 31 Oct 2006


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Paperback, 31 Oct 2006
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Griffin (31 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312362846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312362843
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.9 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,646,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A fast-moving tale of criminal corruption in which, for a change, the good guys win... English pulls no punches" (LA DAILY NEWS)

"Sterling social history... the author's skillful reporting makes the most of his subject" (NEW YORKER)

"Will shock even the most hardened readers" (PLAYBOY)

"First-rate, dramatic and compelling" (NEW YORK NEWSDAY)

"A fascinating look into an Irish-American criminal enterprise that may not have rivalled the Mafia in sophistication, but certainly surpassed them in terror" (WALL STREET JOURNAL) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

First UK publication for this true crime classic about New York's notorious Irish mobsters. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Feb. 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Westies not only captures the life and violent times of the notorious West Side Crew but, the experience of the Irish American Community in its most turbulent period. Spanning from the '30's and 40's to the mid-eighties, a time of great change for the Irish in America, it deals with the intrigue, violence and betrayal that underpinned the rule of Jimmy Coonan, his dealings with the Gambinos and the resentment it caused within the Westies. Throughout this it, reflects the social changes that followed the gentrification of Hell's Kitchen and the decline of its original community. The violence of the gang is not down played and makes for harrowing yet compelling reading, the irrational and barbaric murders committed by the group still stand out in a city with a very violent criminal subculture. in fact the gang's reckless attitude toward murder made even the Mafia wary of them. Well written and painstakingly researched, the book is invaluable to any self respecting student of organised crime and throws a light onto a little known but important chapter in the history of New York's Criminal history.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Feb. 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Real life crime. By far the best genre of writing, and this book is by far the best of it's bunch. The author tells the story through the eyes of one man, and while you are never encouraged to feel symapthy you are asked to understand his choices. As barbaric as the acts of violence are, they somehow seem justified considering the world that is being delved into. The only criticism, and it's not a major one, is that it helps if you are well read on New York crime, not that it stops your enjoyment but it helps in understanding some of the bit part characters. However, what sets this book apart is the way it ties in the Italian and Irish organised crime syndicates, you can see why they worked together, with the Italian organisation and the Irish propensity, and love, for violence they were a devastating combination.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Will Corcoran on 19 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
I was familiar with The Westies, mainly through reading Mafia based books. This was the first book I found taking an in depth look into how The Westies operated. T.J English provides a good insight into the structure and mindset of this gang. You learn how they came together, how they operated and the chaos The Westies created. One negative I have though is, the author is very biased towards Mickey Featherstone. While Coonan and Cummiskey in particular, are described as sadistic thugs, Featherstone gets off relatively lightly. English seems to ignore the fact Featherstone was a cold blooded murderer, he instead protects him, blaming all his troubles on the Vietnam war and Coonan's manipulation of his loyalty. As featherstone turned informer and I'd imagine provided a lot of detail for the book, I think his crimes are overlooked. Make no mistake Mickey Featherstone was a cold blooded killer!! Overall I thought it was a good book, I really enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By I love New York VINE VOICE on 16 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic book about The Westies that once ruled and terrorized the Hell's Kitchen part of Manhattan.

Graphic and unrelenting the story is told from the part of Mickey Featherstone who after years of being the number 2 in The Westies turned states informer and brought down the rest of the gang.

You have to wonder about all of the things that he did that he isn't even owning up to.

For a change I found the people in the book easy to keep up with and random people didn't just appear as I have found with many true crime books, they were brought in to the story and you got to know them all.

Couldn't put it down.

5 Stars.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mr.jingle@peace65.freeserve.co.uk on 8 May 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well, what can I say? This book blew me away! I couldn't put it down from start to finish. The author's energy and detailed researching really make the whole story come across amazingly well. I only plumbed for the book on account I'm Irish myself and was curious to read about something ("The Westies")I'd never heard of. If you want a book that can make you gasp out loud on occasions, this is it! Utterly enthralling!
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By Neilo on 6 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
I do all my reading in bed, and it got to the point where I was going to bed almost as soon as I got in from work. Couldn't wait to read the next instalment.

I like the way it has a logical beginning, explaining how the Westies came about and then goes on to finish with the end of the Westies. But I completely agree with, amongst others, Will Corocan's review. This book is a lot more focused on one man's role (Mickey Featherstone) in the Westies, rather than the Westies as a whole. The title should be changed to 'The True Crime Classic About Mickey Featherstone's Time As Part Of New York's Notorious Irish Mob'.

It was interesting to read about their links to the Mafia, but it was never in detail. Also, I have read quite a few true crime books so recognised some of the bit part characters that were named and found it frustrating that they were named several times but there was no real depth behind what linked them to the Westies.

Don't get me wrong it is a good read, but a bit more substance and it could have been a great read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have had an interest with the Irish Mob for a fair while and this has got to be one of the most interesting accounts of it yet. It mainly follows along Mickey Featherstone's life as the central line, which is perhaps the only downside as it doesnt go too deep into the other characters but i suppose the author can only go with what information is available. It charts the rise and fall of the westies which seem to be quite clearly one of the most sadistically violent street gangs in the US. It is quite simply amazing how much fear these guys put into New York and even the Italian Mafia. If you are at all interested in true crime then i highly reccommend it. In my opinion it is a must read to understand the most dangerous gang in new york city's history.
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