Customer Reviews


16 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, ordered, and a bit shocking
This book outlines in an ordered historical way, the history of gangs in New York. From the first settlers up until the early 20th century New York this book documents the sources of vice and violence that have plagued the city.
Written in a way that does not simply list facts, this book leads you through the extensive history of the city and its denizens. There are...
Published on 17 Mar 2003 by thetetchytechie

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Penny dreadful
I didn't like this book because, as it states in the introduction, it does not analyse or interpret but just chronicles the New York gangs during, mostly, the 19th century.

As a piece of reportage, or newspaper cut-and-pasting, this reprint from the 1927 original is perfectly adequate but it is mainly about what it says on the front-cover blurb: "Now a major...
Published on 4 May 2012 by Mac McAleer


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, ordered, and a bit shocking, 17 Mar 2003
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
This book outlines in an ordered historical way, the history of gangs in New York. From the first settlers up until the early 20th century New York this book documents the sources of vice and violence that have plagued the city.
Written in a way that does not simply list facts, this book leads you through the extensive history of the city and its denizens. There are many people named along with their exploits, and the political chicanery that seemed to allow many of the gangs to persist.
This book was very hard to put down, once started !
I purchased this book in response to watching the film of the same name. This book clarifies many aspects of the film, and demonstrates many of the impossibilities that were built in to make a good film.
If you have watched the film, then you should certainly read this book !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Violence in New York, 28 Feb 2003
By 
R. Simpson (South Kirkby, Yorks, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
Part of the appeal of The Gangs of New York is that journalist Herbert Asbury was writing in the late 1920s at a time when (as he saw it) the era of the gangsters was over. With hindsight the modern reader smirks at the thought of the great age of gangsterism that was just beginning, but the likes of Al Capone and the Warner Brothers anti-heroes were gangsters of a different cast from Asbury's protagonists. The Gangs of New York tells of huge neighbourhood armies which took to the field against each other (or the police or even the military) armed with staves and picks as often as firearms, bruisers rather than criminal masterminds. Though well organised, the book is inevitably disjointed, often turning the spotlight onto one gang for a page or two or simply focussing on one bloody struggle for leadership. However, the horrific tale of the Civil War Draft Riots is told very dramatically at decent length and the careers of some notable gangsters like Monk Eastman are well charted in some detail. The corruption of police and politicians is also a recurrent theme across the decades. In any case, Asbury's research is prodigious and his style racy and compelling, with more than a hint of admiration for some of his disreputable subjects. On the very last page of the last chapter, The Passing of the Gangster, Asbury recounts the killing of Little Augie in 1927 'while talking to his bodyguard Legs Diamond'. This reference to Diamond, and another to Owney Madden ('Owney the Killer') backing night-clubs in Harlem (the Cotton Club not named), moves the reader on to the new generation of gangsters.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whets the appetite for more, 16 Dec 2007
By 
DOPPLEGANGER (TEDDY B) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
A most thorough resume of the diverse criminal activity of lower Manhattan from the early 1800's until circa 1920. The author paints a fascinating but shocking picture of the utter filth, hardship and depravity that was the daily life of those unfortunate enough to have no other option but to live in this area.

Mr Asbury introduces us to many gruesome villains and Gangs with names such as The Plug Uglies and Dead Rabbits and to a wide range of murderous and heinous activities. A very interesting book best read in conjunction with a detailed street map of The Five Points area.

My interest has been aroused by the contents of this book and I intend to read other related matter and next time in New York visit the area.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gangs of New York chills to the bone..., 9 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Gangs of New York is a frightening tale of brutality that is a stark parallel to our violent world today. What you'll read of is what came before the shocking world of the mafia (as depicted glamorously in The Godfather Trilogy). This is a seriously wonderful read; so incredulous that it must be part fiction- though I don't believe the publishers would put us under false pretenses. Violence is a common thing and it happens all around, but just imagine how there was no escape in the days where the police were not feared people and the law was mocked publically. Gangs of New York is truly fascinating stuff so get stuck in...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chronicle of vice, 27 Feb 2003
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
More of a historical account than a story, Herbert Asbury's Gangs of New York, written in 1928 is truly a classic of record and documentation. Peppered with original illustrations and describing eloquently, the criminal culture, the colourful characters, the depraved surroundings and desperation of a period in American history that is often overlooked.
From the mid 1800's until the 1890's New York was a tribal melting pot of poverty stricken immigrants from the poorest parts of Europe, the homeless descendants from the days of slavery and destitute natives of the region. The only source of revenue and stable social structure that existed was with the infamous gangs and the corrupt officials, where only the strong or shrewd survived in the appalling conditions. I can only thank Scorsesee for helping to bring this book to our attention and look forward to discovering how he has transformed this vast amount of research material into a major motion screenplay. A compelling read for those with a passion for New York or the historical subject matter
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic book of a classic area, 22 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
I lived on Mulberry St for 10 years and this is the story of that area. Its half fantasy, half true - but all together a great read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book, 19 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
This book is very complete and I recommand it for anyone who wants to understand Scorcese's movie.
By reading it, you realise how the movie is actually true. And it's also very interesting to see how New York was at the beginning of her story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and well-written, 14 Jun 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
If you liked the Scorsese movie starring Di Caprio and Day Lewis and appreciate the uniqueness of New York, you will love this book
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars untold history, 6 Mar 2013
By 
M. J. Smallcombe (Exeter, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
Read this with a map of New York (19thC) in one hand as there are frequent references to streets, avenues and districts that will mean little to the non New Yorker. Otherwise a superb, if sometimes exaggerated, history of the violence and corruption that typified New York until much more recently than you might imagine. The death of thousands in the Draft Riots during the civil war seems to have been totally forgotten in America's story about itself.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Penny dreadful, 4 May 2012
This review is from: The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (Paperback)
I didn't like this book because, as it states in the introduction, it does not analyse or interpret but just chronicles the New York gangs during, mostly, the 19th century.

As a piece of reportage, or newspaper cut-and-pasting, this reprint from the 1927 original is perfectly adequate but it is mainly about what it says on the front-cover blurb: "Now a major film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio", for which it was used as a source.

In true New York style, I shall take this book to the thrift shop.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld
The Gangs Of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld by Herbert Asbury (Paperback - 2 Jan 2003)
7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews