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Mr. Capone: The Real - and Complete - Story of Al Capone Paperback – September 30, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"I guess it's all over," Al Capone told his lawyer after being sentenced to prison for tax evasion in October 1931. But, as Schoenberg ( Geneen ) diligently shows, the public has never gotten over its obsession with the legendary mobster. Schoenberg traces Capone's life from his Brooklyn boyhood (he was a notable delinquent) through his famous Chicago years to his release from prison in 1939 and his death from neurosyphilis. This fast-paced, fact-filled, behind-the-scenes account of a skilled and brutal gangster lays bare the realities behind the myths about a man still known throughout the world 45 years after his death. Schoenberg's lively biography resonates with details of Capone's dealings with other gangsters, the press, government agents and agencies. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Although his reign as Chicago mob boss only lasted from 1926 to 1931, Al Capone endures as America's most infamous gangster. Schoenberg, author of the biography Geneen ( LJ 1/85), presents a serious, well-researched portrait of Capone and his times. Capone was a product of the Prohibition era, and while one segment of society was horrified by the corruption and killings associated with him, another identified with his flouting of the blue laws. His celebrity was his downfall: "It was my own fault. Publicity--that's what got me." After a seven-year prison term for tax evasion, he died of syphilis in 1947. Readable and balanced, this is the most detailed biography of Capone to date. Recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/92.
- Gregor A. Preston, Univ. of California Lib., Davis
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 30, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688128386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688128388
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Kreca on May 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
While attending a Chicago Cubs baseball game in the spring of Depression-deepening 1930, President Herbert Hoover was viciously booed by fellow fans. A "used furniture dealer" was also in attendance that day. The same crowd lustily cheered him. His name was Alphonse Capone.

Illuminating anecdotes like this make Robert J. Schoenberg's "Mr. Capone," an exhaustively researched and finely detailed record of an unlikely icon in modern U.S. history, a welcome read. Most books on organized crime bounce around the extremes of "Godfather-like" mystical adoration, gloomy conspiratorial hype or shrill partisan muckraking. Schoenberg's account, rejecting these worn approaches, is a refreshing, fascinating chronicle of a powerful person who, in his own way, played a key role in the development and direction of 20th century urban America.

One of the first "leaders" to make effective use of the news media to influence public opinion, Brooklyn-born Capone and his brainchild--the turbulent, uniquely multiethnic Chicago "Outfit" (as the Mafia was termed there) reflected the radical changes the U.S. was undergoing in the postwar 1920s. Among these were its complex and contradictory ethics and morals, its violence and carefree hedonism, its strenuous attempt to assimilate and reconcile multiple ethnic groups newly arrived to these shores, a deep hunger for material "success" and social "respectability" as well as the swiftly emerging predominance of the now-familiar urban environment. All of it in the spirit of Capone's curious but favorite and oft-quoted phrase; "We don't want any trouble."

However, the "trouble" that "Scarface Al" seemingly so much wanted to avoid became his own epitaph and remains a hallmark of an era that still heavily influences our society to this day.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Waugh on August 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is THE definitive biography of the world's most famous gangster. The book is exceptionally well-written, able to satisfy anyone from a casual layman to an organized crime expert. Schoenberg walks us through Capone's life, showing us why he did what he did and avoiding getting caught up in the usual myths surrounding him. The author's notes at the end of the book are extremely helpful. Most of all, Schoenberg gets almost all the dates and facts right when dealing with the events surrouning Capone's life. While I personally disagree with his take on the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, he presents this event and others like it in such a precise manner one cannot help but say positive things. Anybody seeking information about Al Capone should look no further than Mr. Capone. A few other books about him have been published in the last ten years, specifically one by Laurence Bergreen, which is a far worse book and yet has received more publicity the Schoenberg's opus. All others should be ignored. Mr. Capone is the best book ever written about Al Capone.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Kris Van De Velde on October 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Robert Schoenberg really did a masterful job. The way the author describes the Capone-era is breathtaking and I was pleased that he also focusses on Capone's rivals and mentor(s). Besides the enormous amount of research he did I was particularly impressed with his writing skills. His fluent and accurate style, the humour he puts into the text is simply fantastic. That's how the book earns its five stars. You read a story, not a series of facts. Schoenberg is very careful not to add to much superfluous information, something many biographers might learn from. I would say it's hard to put down, but I forced myself occasionally...so that I have something to look really forward to the following day.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By AshleyWicklund on October 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Politics, freedom, and workforce were just a few on the aspects of the American lifestyle that were directly impacted by the rise of gangs and mobsters in the early 1900's. In Mr. Capone: The Real and Complete Story of Al Capone, author Robert J. Schoenberg magnified for the reader the way that everyday life in America changed between the early 1900's and the 1920's with the introduction of the prohibition era, then beyond into the mid 1900's; even something as insignificant as the soda fountain was influenced by the alterations that took place.
Schoenberg's rendition of Capone's biography was not only an elaborate chronology of his life, but also included information about the changes taking place in the government, developments in technology such as automobiles and machinery, and also offered insight to the social dynamic of the United States during a time when immigrants were coming to America in great numbers. At times, it seemed as if the book was not a biography of Capone at all, but rather a vividly written textbook of the time period. It detailed all of Capone's criminal history dating back to his days as a member of the Forty Thieves gang (pg 27). The author told the story of Al Capone's life, and also gave enough information about famous historical events to make the connection to previous knowledge of American history quite effortless. On page 99, he wrote about Charles Trilling and his perspective of Capone, noting that he believed "that Capone could make good." This is just one of the many times that Schoenberg used other gangsters to show Capone through various perspectives. Considering the ninety-two pages of notes and six-page bibliography presented by the author, it's safe to say that Schoenberg's writing was both factual and well researched.
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