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Gangster City: The History of the New York Underworld 1900-1935 Hardcover – April 26, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books (April 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156980267X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569802670
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,699,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Patrick Downey grew up in the Detroit, MI area before moving to New York in 1990 to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. When not performing, Patrick can be found in the New York Public Library and NYC Municipal Archives researching New York's gangster past.

Customer Reviews

Written in a matter-of-fact style and highly informative, it's highly recommended.
Martin Coy
The author raises valid questions and refers to newspapers of the time and no newspapers report that Lucky was even there!
Richard Wahmann
This book chronicles in detail well-known and some forgotten mobsters of New York City.
Mike Koch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rick "Mad Dog" Mattix on June 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding volume of neglected underworld history. Extremely well written, entertaining, and accurate, this is the best work on the Prohibition era New York underworld since Thompson's and Raymond's "Gang Rule in New York" in 1940 and perhaps the best ever. Hopefully it won't be buried in the deluge of Mafia books currently flooding the country. Almost entirely the product of original research and contemporary records, "Gangster City" shuns such post-Prohibition luminaries as Luciano, Costello and Lansky, who've dominated every volume of Mob history since Valachi, in favor of now forgotten gangland legends such as Monk Eastman, Waxey Gordon, Owney Madden and Larry Fay. The early days of the New York Mafia are covered here right up through the 1930 Castellammarese War (in more detail than ever before), the early 1900's Chinatown tong wars, Frankie Yale, the legendary struggles of Legs Diamond, Dutch Schultz and Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, the murderous "Pretty" Amburg and his brothers, Bitz and Spitale (who figured in the Lindbergh case), and the truth about the Irish "White Hand". Finally, the career of Louis "Lepke" Buchalter and Murder Inc. is covered in all their gory glory. There's a goldmine of history here. New facts emerge, popular legends are smashed, and there are many rare photos. Especially useful is the list of gangster related addresses. This is a must for students of organized crime.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mario G. Gomes on December 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Pat Downey has opened the door for New York's underworld wide open with other facets of gangland to be explored.New York is known for the same old gangsters Luciano,Schultz ,Anastasia etc...Downey takes us on side trips to other gangsters just as brawny and vicious as their famous counterparts.
I noticed two reviews who question the author's ability and I say to them, would these two reviewers please show me their published works that they have written?I didn't think so!!!I have read that Mr.Downey gives tours of gangland New York which shows his passion for the subject.
This book speaks for itself! It's a must for any New York gangland buff!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Richard Wahmann on July 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! Their are many reasons, but the main reason is I found the author to be investgative as well as just telling stories about gangsters. He doesnt give you the usual already told before versions that some other authers do by quoting other books. He actually questions them and gives credible and rational reasons. For example, it is widely known that Lucky Luciano set up Joe Masseria in a Coney Island restaurant by going to the mens room when Joe the boss was killed. The author raises valid questions and refers to newspapers of the time and no newspapers report that Lucky was even there! He even questioned the hit team and driver(Ciro Terranova) If you are a Gangster book reader then you must read this book! I found the lesser known gangster for which the author was trying to tell about fasinating! I found myself wanting to go to the NYC municipal archives myself to see some of the pictures he put in the book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mike Koch on June 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Gangster City: The History of the New York Underworld 1900-1935" by Patrick Downey is by far the best and most complete book on New York City's underworld during the early 20th century. This book chronicles in detail well-known and some forgotten mobsters of New York City. This book is a goldmine of history with new research into facts into what really happended in the underworld during this time period. Great photos cover the pages of this book as well as gangster related addresses, which can and will be useful for future researchers. Buy it!

Mike Koch, Author of "The Kimes Gang."
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Marlene Garland on December 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What especially impressed me about this book was the plethora of details about the pre World War One gangsters. Pat Downey has done his homework and for that we have a great read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Artis on May 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was highly impressed that the author avoided a lot of the misconceptions and myths that abound on the internet and in most organized crime books. It is amazing how many authors ahve made careers on the subject and seemingly know nothing of it, whereas you don't get that feel at all with this book.

The only thing that he seemingly missed was the Buster from Chicago thing. Many reputed organized crime experts have come to beleive that Buster never existed. Joe Valachi basically used the name Buster from Chicago so that he would not have to admit that he himself had murdered.

That aside, I highly endorse this books, if only for its myth shattering effect.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rose Keefe VINE VOICE on July 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perhaps previous writers thought that nothing more could be said about this subject after Herbert Asbury tackled (and mastered) it in his classic "Gangs of New York." But being a true crime writer myself, I know the folly of taking previous authorities and accounts for granted, and lucky for the rest of us, Pat Downey did too.
"Gangster City" is a riveting account of the underworld, starting with the mutually antagonistic Monk Eastman and Paul Kelly, and ending with gangsters not yet beyond living memory: Dutch Schultz, Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, Owney Madden. Although Downey's vivid writing style pays tribute to Herbert Asbury, this book contradicts large sections of Asbury's book, and offers the evidence to back it up. It's a fresh, colorful look at a vintage subject, and as if that's not exciting enough, "Gangster City" has photos that I have not seen elsewhere.
A definite must-read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

If they wore suits, fedoras and carried machineguns Patrick Downey probably wrote about them. He has spent the last two decades scouring New York's archives and libraries in search of the gangsters of old.