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Notorious New Jersey: 100 True Tales of Murders and Mobsters, Scandals and Scoundrelsby Jon Blackwell
Synopses & Reviews
Master story teller Marc Mappen applies a generational perspective to the gangsters of the Prohibition eraandmdash;men born in the quarter century span from 1880 to 1905andmdash;who came to power with the Eighteenth Amendment.
On January 16, 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution went into effect in the United States, andldquo;outlawing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.andrdquo; A group of young criminals from immigrant backgrounds in cities around the nation stepped forward to disobey the law of the land in order to provide alcohol to thirsty Americans.
Today the names of these young menandmdash;Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Dutch Schultz, Legs Diamond, Nucky Johnsonandmdash;are more familiar than ever, thanks in part to such cable programs as Boardwalk Empire. Here, Mappen strips way the many myths and legends from television and movies to describe the lives these gangsters lived and the battles they fought. Placing their criminal activities within the context of the issues facing the nation, from the Great Depression, government crackdowns, and politics to sexual morality, immigration, and ethnicity, he also recounts what befell this villainous group as the decades unwound.
Making use of FBI and other government files, trial transcripts, and the latest scholarship, the book provides a lively narrative of shootouts, car chases, courtroom clashes, wire tapping, and rub-outs in the roaring 1920s, the Depression of the 1930s, and beyond. Mappen asserts that Prohibition changed organized crime in America. Although their activities were mercenary and violent, and they often sought to kill one another, the Prohibition generation built partnerships, assigned territories, and negotiated treaties, however short lived. They were able to transform the loosely associated gangs of the pre-Prohibition era into sophisticated, complex syndicates. In doing so, they inspired an enduring iconandmdash;the gangsterandmdash;in American popular culture and demonstrated the nationandrsquo;s ideals of innovation and initiative.
Author Jon Blackwell sheds light on some historical whodunits in "Notorious New Jersey," the definitive guide to murder, mayhem, the mob, and corruption in the Garden State.Rutgers University Press
Based on FBI and other government files, trial transcripts, and the latest scholarship, this book provides a lively narrative of shootouts, car chases, courtroom clashes, wire tapping and rub-outs in the 1920s, the 1930s, and beyond, acknowledging how the Prohibition generationandmdash;Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and Dutch Schultz, among othersandmdash;forever transformed organized crime from loosely associated gangs of the pre-Prohibition era into sophisticated, complex syndicates. It applies a generational perspective to the gangsters who came to power with the Eighteenth Amendment.
Notorious New Jersey is the definitive guide to murder, mayhem, the mob, and corruption in the Garden State. With tabloid punch, Jon Blackwell tells riveting accounts of Alexander Hamilton falling mortally wounded on the dueling grounds of Weehawken; Dutch Schultz getting pumped full of lead in the men’s room of the Palace Chop House in Newark; and a gang of Islamic terrorists in Jersey City mixing the witch’s brew of explosives that became the first bomb to rock the World Trade Center. Along with these dramatic stories are tales of lesser-known oddities, such as the nineteenth-century murderer whose skin was turned into leather souvenirs, and the state senator from Jersey City who faked his death in a scuba accident in the 1970s in an effort to avoid prison.
Blackwell also sheds light on some historical whodunits—was Bruno Hauptmann really guilty of kidnapping the Lindbergh baby? Who was behind the anthrax attacks of 2001? Not forgotten either are notorious characters who may actually be innocent, including Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and those who have never been convicted of wrongdoing although they left office in scandal, including Robert Torricelli and James McGreevey.
Through 100 historic true-crime tales that span over 300 years of history, Blackwell shows readers a side of New Jersey that would make even the Sopranos shudder.
About the Author
JON BLACKWELL is a journalist who has often written about New Jersey. He was an editor at the Asbury Park Press and a reporter at the Trentonian and is now a copy editor at the New York Post.
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History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime