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.
View a three minute video of Marc Mappen speaking about
Jon Blackwell takes a walk on the wild side of New Jersey history to introduce the reader to the Garden State's leading crooks, con men, killers, and other lowlife, all described in fast paced, entertaining style. You wouldn't want to invite these characters into your living room, but they make for a lively reading experience.
Definitely take the tour-a bullet-riddled ride you won't forget. coeditor of the Encyclopedia of New Jersey
andquot;Marc Mappen proves an adept storyteller as he takes readers beyond 'Boardwalk Empire.' Mappen spins some good yarns about the gangsters, dominated by New Yorkers, whose rise was triggered by the 18th Amendment, which took effect in 1920, and who proved that, at times, crime not only pays, but pays very well.andquot;
andquot;Prohibition created an enormous economic opportunity for a generation of young criminals. As chronicled by Marc Mappen, the true, violent, and extravagant lives of these men make dramatizations like Boardwalk Empire look tame by comparison. A must -read for anyone interested in the origins of organized crime in America.andquot;
andquot;Kudos to Marcand#160;Mappen for producing so riveting a study aboutand#160;a generation of gangland mobsters who usedand#160;National Prohibition to grab lots ofand#160;money and petty power for themselves.and#160;A big winner of a book aboutand#160;a bunch of lousy looting losers. . . . Fascinating reading.and#160; Highly recommended!andquot;
andquot;A well researched, historical overview of the major Prohibition era gangsters. These men became the founding fathers of modern organized crime.andquot;
andquot;A book about the Prohibition gangsters should be a fascinating and exciting read. Mappen does not disappoint. His fast-moving but
authoritative narrative takes readers through the Prohibition years and beyond as he traces the careers of such underworld luminaries as John Torrio, Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Legs Diamond, and Dutch Schultz. Mappenandrsquo;s book is a splendid introduction to the story of a generation of criminals who captured the American imagination.andquot;
andquot;Getting from here to there for New Jerseyans these days can range from slightly annoying to absolutely road-rageous. But nowhere does it approach the wholesale risks taken by 19th century travelers when they booked passagage on a ship, boarded a train or stayed at a tinderbox resort hotel. History and weather repeat, and Siegel deftly captures the dandeacute;jandagrave; vu.andquot;
andquot;Think the winter weandrsquo;ve just endured was rough? It was a picnic compared to 1888, when the blizzard of March 11 to 14 paralyzed New Jersey, killing nearly 100 people. More than 2 feet of snow fell in some regions, and winds reached 60 miles per hour in an era before snowplows. That's just one of the 28 deadly events pulled from the historical shadows by Alan A. Siegel in his new book, Disaster!and#160;Stories of Destruction and Death in Nineteenth-Century New Jersey.andquot;
andquot;Marc Mappen far outstrips his fellow crime writers [when] describing mob activity in smaller U.S. cities. Chicago and New York have been examined enough, so Mappen turns his eye on the Purple Gang of Detroit, the Pendergast machine in Kansas City, and the bootleg wars of Cleveland.andquot;
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
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 menandrsquo;s room of the Palace Chop House in Newark; and a gang of Islamic terrorists in Jersey City mixing the witchandrsquo;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 whodunitsandmdash;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 andldquo;Hurricaneandrdquo; 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.
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.
About the Author
MARC MAPPEN, PhD, teaches at Rutgers University. He is the coeditor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of New Jersey and author of Jerseyana: The Underside of New Jersey History (both Rutgers University Press). He has written articles for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Rutgers Magazine, and other publications and has appeared on the History Channel and National Public Radio.
Table of Contents
Newark, October 27, 1836
Cape May City, September 5, 1856
Cape May City, August 31, 1869
Cape May City, November 9, 1878
Newton, September 22, 1873
Caven Point, Jersey City, Refinery Fire, May 10, 1883
The Standard Oil Fire, Bayonne, July 5, 1900
2. Steamboat Disasters
New-Jersey, Camden, March 15, 1856
Isaac Newton, Fort Lee, December 5, 1863and#160;
3. Train Wrecks
Burlington, August 29, 1855
Hackensack Meadows, January 15, 1894
May's Landing, August 11, 1880
Absecon Island, July 30, 1896
Bordentown, February 21, 1901
The Thoroughfare Wreck, October 28, 1906
John Minturn, South of Mantoloking, February 15, 1846
Powhattan, Beach Haven, April 15, 1854
New Era, Deal Beach, November 13, 1854
New York, North of Barnegat Inlet, December 20, 1856
Vizcaya and Cornelius Hargraves, Off Barnegat Bay, July 8, 1898
Delaware, Barnegat Bay, July 8, 1898
5. Natural Disasters
The Blizzard of '88, March 11-14, 1888
The Great September Gale, September 3, 1821
Statewide Hurricane, September 10-13, 1889
New Brunswick Tornado, June 19, 1835
Camden Tornado, June 19, 1835
Camden Tornado, August 3, 1885
Cherry Hill Tornado, July 13, 1895
Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading