Synopses & Reviews
In 1930's New York, Billy Bathgate, a fifteen-year-old high-school dropout, has captured the attention of infamous gangster Dutch Schultz, who lures the boy into his world of racketeering. The product of an East Bronx upbringing by his half-crazy Irish Catholic mother, after his Jewish father left them long ago, Billy is captivated by the world of money, sex, and high society the charismatic Schultz has to offer. But it is also a world of extortion, brutality, and murder, where Billy finds himself involved in a dangerous affair with Schultz's girlfriend. Relive this story through the title character's driving narrative, a child's thoughts and feelings filtered through the sensibilities of an adult, and the result is E.L. Doctorow's most convincing and appealing portrayal of a young boy's life. Converging mythology and history, one of America's most admired authors has captured the romance of gangsters and criminal enterprise that continues to fascinate the American psyche today.
"[M]esmerizing reading that soars from the shocking first scene...through episodes of horror, hilarity and sudden, deepening insights." Publishers Weekly
"An engrossing tale that successfully re-creates worlds gone by in loving and meticulous detail." Library Journal
"...E.L. Doctorow's shapeliest novel....packed with complex and oddly beautiful street scenes, filled with grime and color." New York Times Books of the Century
"Doctorow takes up the legacies of Fitzgerald and Cheever and adds to them a savage and erotic splendor of his own." John le Carre
Billy Bathgate is an urban Huck Finn who comes of age in New York City in the 1930s as the protege of Dutch Schultz, one of the most abominable gangsters of his time, but one of life's great teachers as well.
About the Author
E.L. Doctorow, one of America's preeminent authors, has received the National Book Critics Circle Award (twice), the National Book Award, the Pen/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation For Fiction, and the William Dean Howells medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He resides in New Rochelle, New York.