A detailed compendium of American gangsters and gangs from the end of the Civil War to the present day.
From the James gang to Nicky Barnes to John Gotti, the American gangster has become an iconic outsized American archetype, with the real criminals sometimes rivaling their fictional counterparts—like the Corleones and the Sopranos—for their ability to captivate the public and attain genuine folk antihero status.
American Gangsters, Then and Now: An Encyclopedia ranges from Western outlaws revered as Robin Hoods to the Depression’s flamboyant bootleggers and bank robbers to the late 20th century’s drug kingpins and “Dapper Dons.” It is the first comprehensive resource on the gangster’s historical evolution and unshakable grip on the American imagination.
American Gangsters, Then and Now tells the stories of a number of famous gangsters and gangs—Jesse James and Billy the Kid, the Black Hand, Al Capone, Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels, the Mafia, Crips and Bloods, and more. Avoiding sensationalism, the straightforward entries include biographical portraits and historical background for each subject, as well as accounts of infamous robberies, killings, and other events, all well documented with both archival newspapers and extensive research into the files of the FBI. Readers will understand the families, the places, and the times that produced these monumental criminals, as well as the public mindset that often found them sympathetic and heroic.
• Comprises 50 alphabetically organized entries on American gangsters and gangs from the post-Civil War era to the present
• Offers a wealth of primary sources, including newspaper articles dating back to the 1880s and FBI files obtained by the author
• Includes photographs of prominent American gangsters and the aftermaths of their crimes
• Presents a glossary of gangster slang, past and present
• Provides a comprehensive index
• Spans the whole history of the gangster in the United States, from the post-Civil War era to the present
• Features the insights and writing skills of an accomplished author of crime books
• Makes the connection between gangsters from different eras
• Dispels a number of misconceptions about gangsters and the destruction they cause