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Accardo: The Genuine Godfather Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nicknamed "Joe Batters" by Al Capone because he beat two thugs to death with a baseball bat, Tony Accardo (1906-1992) would go on to impress his mob superiors by using "Chicago Choppers"?Thompson submachine guns?at the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929. After the demise of Capone, Accardo quickly moved to the forefront of the mob hierarchy, becoming a capo under Capone's successor, Frank Nitti, and concentrating on gambling operations. Roemer, who exhibits a grudging respect for Accardo, alleges without documentation that the mob under Accardo bought off U.S. Attorney General Tom Clark with an appointment to the Supreme Court. Also covered are Accardo's appearance before the Kefauver Committee in 1951, where he was cited for contempt of Congress; his Chicago mob's late move into Las Vegas; his "retirement" to consiglieri in 1957; how J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI were finally forced to join the battle against organized crime after the infamous Apalachin, N.Y., mob meeting in 1957; Accardo's prohibition on selling narcotics; and his ordered "hit" on Sam Giancana. Roemer (The Enforcer), former senior agent on the organized crime squads of the Chicago FBI, has written a colorful biography rich in fact, anecdote and speculation. Photos. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Retired FBI agent Roemer (The Enforcer, LJ 6/15/94) profiles Chicago mobster Anthony Accardo (1906-92), a.k.a. Joe Batters, a.k.a. The Big Tuna. Starting out in the Capone gang, Accardo quickly rose to the top of the organization, wielding absolute control and inspiring fear in others. Despite damaging evidence against him, Accardo in his 70 years as a gangster never spent a day in jail. Using a wealth of inside information gathered from eavesdropping on mob meeting places, Roemer presents an excellent story of a ruthless mob leader blended in with the history of the period. Often Roemer goes overboard in congratulating agents involved, and he uses Accardo's aliases interchangeably, which can confuse readers. Nevertheless, he has written an interesting book on the history of gangsters and provides another chapter of Chicago's social history. Recommended for true-crime collections.
Michael Sawyer, Clinton P.L., Ia.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Books (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804114641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804114646
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mr Mondo on August 13, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
William F. Roemer, Jr., may have known Chicago mob boss Anthony Accardo better than anyone outside the Outfit. That's because Roemer spent much of his career as an FBI agent trying to put Accardo in prison. He never succeeded, but over the years he developed a grudging respect for the head of Chicago's organized crime family. And in this memoir of the mob during Accardo's reign, Roemer pays just tribute to his old adversary on the strange terms that inevitably govern relationships between career criminals and the cops who try to put them away for good. Roemer acknowledges Accardo's genius, his love for his family and willingness to run the Chicago Outfit with as little bloodshed as necessary (still a veritable river, though). At the same time, Roemer makes sure we know how ruthless and merciless Accardo was and how he never blinked at torture and murder as management tools to keep his organization under control.
Tony Accardo deserves much closer historical scrutiny than he has received heretofore. He started his career in organized crime as a protege of Jack McGurn, one of the Outfit's top enforcers. McGurn is credited both by historians and mob legend as the man who planned and executed the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, a multiple killing that finished off Al Capone's last real challenge to underworld dominance in the Chicago area. Roemer speculates that Accardo may have been one of the gunmen who carried out the hit. If nothing else, Accardo proved to be a very proficient enforcer himself and this, combined with his obvious intelligence, paved the way for his rapid rise through the ranks. By the mid 1940s, Accardo was the head of the former Capone organization, a position of power he would only relinquish upon his death in the 1990s.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Rick "Mad Dog" Mattix on September 15, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I find it amusing that every gangster biographer wants to elevate his subject to the level of being the most important figure ever in the history or organized crime. But one would expect a certain level of objectivity from a former FBI agent, even one who self-promoted himself for years as Chicago's number one Mob-buster. Roemer's admiration for adversary Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo is understandable in a way. Clearly one of the most untouchable mobsters of all time (though it is not true that he never spent a night in jail), Accardo's seventy year criminal career with no standing convictions shows he was no dumb hood. All the same, Roemer goes out of his way to inject Accardo into everything that ever happened in Chicago. His account of the Prohibition years is so far off the mark it's hilarious. He has Tony Accardo saving Capone from Hymie Weiss in the Hawthorne attack, which contemporary accounts credit to Frank Rio. He places Tony in New York with Jack McGurn, Anselmi and Scalise, and "a guy named Rio Burke" as the hitters of Frankie Yale in that city's first Tommygun killing. Strange, as I met the late Rio Burke and SHE never once mentioned handling a machine gun though she was a friend of Al Capone. Tony, McGurn, Anselmi and Scalise and "possibly Fred Burke" (in whose Michigan hideout the machine guns were found) are claimed to have been the St. Valentine's Day Massacre gunmen, on the basis of some bugged conversations Roemer claims to have heard years later and vaguely alludes to. More credible suspects, such as Gus Winkeler, who later ran Moran's former North Side territory for Capone and was highly publicized in the early Thirties, and Raymond "Crane-Neck" Nugent, who was once arrested at Capone's Miami estate, are dismissed as insignificant nobodies on the bare fringe of the Capone mob.Read more ›
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Artis on March 12, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think the main problem I had with this book was the numerous factual errors in it. I could forgive his overstating Accardo's importance to Chicago organized crime (Its a well known fact among most real crime historians that Accardo spent most of his time as the Waiters front boss) because all biographers tend to do that. But when he states things like Joe Profaci and Joe Columbo being bosses on the commission and showing up at a 1961 wedding when Columbo was an eventual herir to Profaci's family can't be forgiven. Things like that make you wonder if the author knew anything at all.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Adams on August 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As a Chicagoland native and budding fan of "Outfit" stories, I was anxious to learn all I could about "Joe Batters". This book does deliver information I didn't already have, but don't let the page count fool you. Roemer pads this book with all kinds of extraneous stuff, and wanders in his narrative. He has no idea how to organize information, and this book seems to be no more than a rough draft. Roemer claims to be impartial, but opinion drips from every sentence. He can never let the evidence speak for itself. He always has to comment on it. If you're expecting nothing more than one man's war stories of his time in the FBI, then this book will not disappoint, but this is not the omnibus of Accardo information that I was hoping for.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book would have rated a 10 if only Roemer would stop patting himself on the back throughout this and all of his books. We know he was a boxer, we know he went to Notre Dame, we know he's one of the best name dropper's of our time and we know what a great FBI agent he claims to have been. Give it a rest Bill and just tell the story! Anyone who grew up in Chicago and paid attention to the comings and goings of the Outfit will be fascinated by the book. It's amazing that Tuna went out from old age and not in the traditional mob exit. If you didn't know Accardo's background you would have thought he was just the guy next door.
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