American Gangsters, Then and Now
An Encyclopedia
by Nate Hendley
December 2009, 275pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35451-9
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35452-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

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.

A detailed compendium of American gangsters and gangs from the end of the Civil War to the present day.

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.

Features

  • 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
Nate Hendley is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Canada. His published works include Greenwood's Bonnie and Clyde: A Biography, Crystal Meth: North America's #1 Drug Problem, Al Capone: Chicago's King of Crime, Dutch Schultz: The Brazen Beer Baron of New York, and Edwin Alonzo Boyd: The Life and Crimes of Canada's Master Bank Robber.

Reviews

"...perfect for general audiences...Recommended for public libraries."—Library Journal, June 15, 2010

"The writing in this compendium blazes with the glow of crime novels and gangbuster series while delivering loads of fascinating and gory details on American organized crime. . . . this quality work, which comes with full-text online access, fills a niche."—School Library Journal, August 1, 2010

"The book is designed...for academic research on the background and life of gangster organizations."—Library Media Connection, October 1, 2010
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