Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Billy Bathgate: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – June 29, 2010
|New from||Used from|
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Although it is the Dutchman who takes in the boy, Billy is drawn to Dutch's moll sexually, and to the gang's bookkeeper, Otto Berman, emotionally. Otto is the real key to the book. Billy, like Johnson's Boswell, is drawn to the accountant and his philosophy. Broken down, Otto explains to the boy that things like love, loyalty, knowledge, and spirit are meaningless--none of them can be proven. They are all bound by words. To Otto, words are just words. Numbers, however, are the only true language. One and one will always be two. Numbers never lie. (Spoken like a true accountant.) This has an enormous impact on a young boy whose mother is one step away from the nuthouse, and whose father took off years earlier.
I gave this book four stars because I had just finished re-reading RAGTIME, and this came up a little short. On the other hand, maybe RAGTIME was too high a standard to hold it up to. In any event, this is not your typical gangster novel, as I hope this review has made apparent. It is a complex and profound book and should satisfy the most literary appetite.
Rocco Dormarunno, author of The Five Points.
The plot itself bears much resemblance to countless other mafia stories, filled with shady characters, ruthless hit men, brutal murders, bribing of government officials, and steamy love affairs. The uniqueness lies in the fact that the narrator is a 15-year-old boy, Billy, eager to earn the trust of Dutch Schultz, the mafia kingpin, and his gang. He quickly progresses from simple errand boy, buying cigarettes and coffee, to a position of modest responsibility in this intriguing world of crime. Through Billy's somewhat naïve, innocent eyes, we observe Dutch as he manages his empire, carries out hits against his enemies and disloyal employees, and struggles to evade the attempts of law enforcement to bring him down. The story takes us from New York City to Onondoga, a small town where Dutch's trial eventually takes place. And in the process, we witness the growth of a boy into a young man as he enters a world of big money, intense loyalty, and vindictive violence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can’t believe I’ve had this book on my bookshelf, unread, for over 25 years. I’m so glad I finally read it. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Gus
Doctrow is brilliant. The way he could combined real history with fiction and make you wonder which was which was proof of his genius.Published 1 month ago by staceyg685
My expectation was that this was going to be a fictional account of gangster activity, but instead it turns out to be a fictional memoir. The first chapter was great. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tim Carter
This is an absorbingly interesting story of a 15 year boy named Billy impressed with the gang of racketeers in his neighborhood of the Broncs, NY, and when he is lucky and smart... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bobby
Excellent read! I'm on a quest to read all of Doctorow's books--this was number three.Published 4 months ago by Elio DelCol
I am sure it has all been said elsewhere but Doctorow was a superb story teller and writer. Having read nearly all his books, I have never been disappointed and this particular... Read morePublished 4 months ago by KasbaLake
The prodigy of understanding what makes boyishness so intense. Having talents that make shooting a pistol the perfect skill to perfect at a police firing range with eyes on the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bruce P. Barten