Mickey Cohen, who died in 1976, was a colorful, feared West Coast gangster-gambler who knew the biggest names in Hollywood including the Rat Pack, was a bodyguard for Bugsy Siegel, a friend of Las Vegas' late Liz Renay and on first names with the biggest guys in the Mafia. Well-indexed and illustrated, Lewis book about Cohen draws from thousands of resources -- a virtual treasure trove of Mafia-related books, articles and interviews.
The book is divided into five parts: Cohen's early days from 1913 to 1938, from Brooklyn to Los Angeles; from 1938 to 1947 Headliners: Mickey and Bugsy; 1947 to 1955 Mickey, The Celebrity; 1955 to 1967, Mickey Redux; and 1967 to 1976, The Survivor.
Each section has something for everyone interested in the Mob with theories on who shot Bugsy in 1947; a look at the early days of Las Vegas and why Cohen liked certain hotels; and his connection with Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
Cohen was a survivor. Not a big man (he was five-five), he managed to survive gang wars; feuds; the federal government's attempts to put him away; and he had some of the biggest name lawyers representing him.
His real name was Meyer Harris (Michael) Cohen and there's some doubt to when he was born (1911, 1913 or 1914) "purportedly" in Brownsville's section of Brooklyn, but he grew up in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles. He'd get educated later on the streets of New York, Chicago and Detroit.
Cohen's life crossed the lives of many. The book's index includes the Mob's Albert Anastasia; stripper Candy Barr; Hollywood big shot Harry Cohn; Frank Costello; gangster Jack Dragna; Jimmy Fratianno; Momo Giancana; J. Edgar Hoover; racket investigator Estes Kefauver; Mob brain Meyer Lansky; actor George Raft; the dapper Johnny Rosselli; ; President John Kennedy and his brother Robert.
This is both a fascinating history of time gone by and a biography of a survivor and Lewis has written it with flash and substance. -- Howard Schwartz - Gambler's Book Club, Las Vegas
"I found Celebrity Gangster intense, dramatic, a real page turner." ----Irwin Winkler, Producer of Rocky, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Night and the City and The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight. -- Irwin Winkler
"Never in my years of reading for pleasure, has such an infamous mobster as the late Mickey Cohen been written about with such insight, truthfulness and good humor as Brad Lewis has accomplished in this page-turning bio. For anyone into Jewish or even gentile folklore, this is a must read." ----Arthur Marx, author of Life With Groucho, The Nine Lives of Mickey Rooney, Goldwyn: A Biography of the Man Behind the Myth , Red Skelton, The Secret Life of Bob Hope , Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime (Especially Himself ) - Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and the play, The Impossible Years. -- Arthur Marx
A colorful biography of the Mick, a nattily attired, 5-foot-5-inch L.A. gangster who declared he never killed anyone who ``didn't deserve killing" and who feared nothing but germs (hence, his habit of taking 2- to 3-hour showers). ``Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster" is a fascinating portrait of how a Boyle Heights newsboy grew up to cross paths with movie stars, religious leaders, jetsetters and newspaper folks when he wasn't dodging assassination attempts on Sunset Boulevard. Lewis' book shines a light on an often overlooked chapter of the history of crime, L.A.'s mid-20th century underworld (called the ``Vicecapades'' by one columnist). Mickey struck me as a guy I would have loved to dine with as long as it wasn't on Sunset Boulevard.
----Steve Harvey, "Only in LA", Los Angeles Times -- Steve Harvey, "Only in LA", Los Angeles Times
This is Mickey Cohen! Inside and Out! The most comprehensive biography ever written about Hollywood's bantam gangster. Bradley Lewis gives us the complete story of the most famous West Coast mobster in history, complete with his ties to the underworld hierarchy across the United States. Lewis shows us multiple sides of Cohen and for the first time gives us a clear understanding of his far-reaching influence, separating fact from fiction along the way. -- AmericanMafia.com - Allan R. May -- Allan R. May Americanmafia.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I could hardly put it down because it was such an easy read, too.
From Bugsy Siegel to the rat Pack: all the Hollywood "gangs" are shown here and Mickey was almost like a puppet master pulling strings!
I would highly recommend it to anyone interested crime novels, film noir, gangsters, biographies and just well written books.
I have just begun reading this book. So far it is a fascinating read. BUT, there are far too many mid-line hyphenations, very distracting.Published on November 10, 2011 by Martin J Goldstein
I'm a bit disappointed with this book for a couple of reasons, the main one being the 40 pages of "notes" that instead should have been on the relevant pages as footnotes. Read morePublished on January 2, 2010 by Biff Malibu
When most people hear the word "gangster", Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel or Meyer Lansky spring to mind. Read morePublished on June 22, 2008 by Pugwash
This is a firts bio of Mickey Cohen but it's much more and in fact covers a whole period in Mafia history centered on the West Coast. Read morePublished on July 12, 2007 by Robert L. Miller
A comprehensive, thorough expose of the early Mafia days of New York, Hollywood, and Las Vegas. A fascinating read!Published on July 10, 2007 by Paul S. Levine