This account of the life of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel follows his beginnings in the Lower East Side of New York to his role in the development of the famous Flamingo Hotel and Casino. Larry D. Gragg examines Siegel’s image as portrayed in popular culture, dispels the myths about Siegel’s contribution to the founding of Las Vegas, and reveals some of the more lurid details about his life.
Unlike previous biographies, this book is the first to make use of more than 2,400 pages of FBI files on Siegel, referencing documents about the reputed gangster in the New York City Municipal Archives and reviewing the 1950–51 testimony before the Senate Committee on organized crime. Chapters cover his early involvement with gangs in New York, his emergence as a favorite among the Hollywood elite in the late 1930s, his lucrative exploits in illegal gambling and horse racing, and his opening of the “fabulous” Flamingo in 1946. The author also draws upon the recollections of Siegel’s eldest daughter to reveal a side of the mobster never before studied—the nature of his family life.
- Assesses Siegel's life as a gangster in organized crime of the time
- Provides a detailed account of Siegel's last day in 1947, culminating with his murder at his girlfriend's house in Beverly Hills
- Discusses the facts and fallacies about his association with the development of Las Vegas
- Features a chronological treatment of Siegel in films, novels, documentaries, and accounts in newspapers and magazines
- Includes photographs of Siegel and the Flamingo Hotel and Casino at the time of its construction and opening