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on April 13, 2013
A great read. Brad Lewis, the author, has really done his research on the surge of gang life in the early and middle Twentieth Century with regard to Mickey Cohen in particular and the various inter-relationships of the ethnicity of gangs in general. SMS
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on January 26, 2010
As a native of Chicago and fan of film noir, I enjoy reading histories of prohibition era gangsters and period stories. This book was right on point.

The author, Brad Lewis, has, though obviously exhaustive research, uncovered facts of Mickey Cohen's life and presented them in a cradle to grave account of his rise and fall in the gangster and Hollywood communities. He provides overwhelming details of how Mickey Cohen rose to become someone who, inter alia, became a Nixon fundraiser and friend of Sinatra. Tying all of these facts together is the author's insightful interpretation of the facts, editorializing on the subject's actions, and speculating on his motives.

Intertwined with the story Mr. Lewis provides the reader with fascinating and unknown snippets about people, places and events in 38 pages of endnotes. I found the information provided in these notes to be more interesting than the main text. For example, did you know that David Bagleman who was Al Pachino's manager, committed suicide in the Century City Hotel after spending the night out with Sandi Bennett, Tony Bennett's former wife? Or that the straight laced Dorothy Kilgallen, who I used to watch on "What's My Line", died of an overdose of alcohol and barbiturates in 1965 soon after interviewing THE Jack Ruby. These and numerous other epitaphs may have little or nothing to do with Mickey Cohen but contributed to the dynamic flow of the book and captivated my attention.

I found the book to be entertaining, informative, interesting, and above all well written. The author has an astonishing command of the written word and uses it to present a gripping story of a noteworthy individual and people who crossed his path. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested crime novels, film noir, gangsters, biographies and just well written books.
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on February 26, 2013
Facinating, well-researched book. I could hardly put it down because it was such an easy read, too. What a ruthless, up-by-the-bootstraps bad apple. Though largely a sociopathic personality who thrived in the underworld, he achieved far more than a man of short stature and unimpressive social skills might be expected.
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on November 16, 2007
Mickey Cohen certainly was a product of his time. Edward G. Robinson only played LITTLE CAESAR on screen, Cohen was the real thing. He was made to measure for dominating the crime in and around Hollywood. From fixing prize fights and horse races to shaking down movie stars and politicians.
Then there are the six murders that he freely admits to, not counting all those he doesn't own up to. Still, ask any waiter, car hop or bell boy and they're all tell you what a great guy he was -or rather a great tipper.

Mickey Cohen fitted right in with LA. His exploits commanded the front pages and gossip columns of the day. Brad Lewis' book is well researched, but for me not all the loose ends were tied together. Cohen's relationships with his bosses -the mob, are detailed better in Gus Russo's book SUPERMOB.
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on March 30, 2011
SINCE I KN EW MR. COHEN THIS WAS QUITE A READ......NOT PARTICULARLY ACCURATE.....WISH I COULD HAVE TALKED TO THE AUTHOR BEFORE HAND BECAUSE QUITE A FEW MISTAKES WERE MADE....BUT ENJOYED NONTHE LESS.....
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VINE VOICEon February 6, 2014
A very thorough book. I don't remember why I bought this book but if you are interested in a DETAILED story of his life, this is it. Unfortunately, I read for entertainment and this as just too much for me. So make sure you are big fan and want to read page after page of name dropping and detailed accounts of everyday life. Now, this guy was unique and wanted more publicity than any other mafia member I have heard of. And, I always enjoy parts about starlets and beautiful women. But, this was not an exciting read and I'd like my 10 hours back. Unfortunately, I rarely ever stop a read once I start.
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on January 27, 2013
Very well written.This book will hold your interest.It not only shows you the brutal side of Mickey Cohen but also shows the human side.
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on July 10, 2007
A comprehensive, thorough expose of the early Mafia days of New York, Hollywood, and Las Vegas. A fascinating read!
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on January 2, 2010
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. It would have made for much easier reading. In some cases, the material in the notes should have just been in the book itself.

That said, the story about Mickey and his cronies was not that illuminating. I got tired of reading that he takes three hours to get dressed, or has x number of suits and shoes, etc. I never got a sense of what he really did; it was more name-dropping and gossip than anything else. I can tell you who his girlfriends were and what happened to his house when it got bombed, but that's not why I read the book.

I suggest skimming the book but reading the notes section. There are some interesting tales there.
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on June 22, 2008
When most people hear the word "gangster", Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel or Meyer Lansky spring to mind. These were brilliant, charismatic, ruthless men who built financial empires on the backs of illegal activities, and often, other peoples misery.

I had never thought of Mickey Cohen as a first rate gangster of the magnitude of the aforementioned, but in reading this book, it is clear that he cut a wide swath through twentieth century American history.

The book is well written, although details of Cohen's life remain surprisingly sketchy. The author never does get a handle on where Cohen's opulent wealth comes from, although he does hint that prostitution and gambling are it's main source.

Cohen and Benny Siegel moved from East Coast to West to capture the vice at the request of Meyer Lansky, and each had a storied career. Siegel's has been told many times. Cohen's, normally as an adjunct to Siegel's.

This book makes clear that Cohen's life and influence far surpassed "Bugsy's". Cohen not only controlled much of the traditional vice along the West Coast, he had in's with Senators, Presidents, Hollywood icons, and even The Reverend Billy Graham.

Through it all he comes off as an upstanding, decent, and charismatic person.

He survived up to twelve attempted "hits", two extended prison stays, and not least, two marriages.

He is a piece of American folklore I would like to know more about, and for anyone who feels the same, this book is an excellent chronicle of a twentieth century enigma.
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