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The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America Paperback – January 15, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0231096836 ISBN-10: 0231096836 Edition: Revised

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The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America + Our Gang : Jewish Crime and the New York Jewish Community, 1900-1940 + But He Was Good to His Mother : The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised edition (January 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231096836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231096836
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fried, coauthor of Socialist Thought (Classic Returns, LJ 8/93), here "rescues the Jewish gangster from oblivion and traces the development of the Jewish underworld from its origins to its gradual disappearance after Prohibition" (LJ 8/80). This revised edition updates the information on such figures as Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, and Dutch Shultz.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Albert Fried teaches American Studies at SUNY Purchase. He is the editor of Socialism in America: From the Shakers to the Third International, and edited with Ronald Sanders a revised edition of Socialist Thought: A Documentary History, both available from Columbia University Press.


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Rick "Mad Dog" Mattix on July 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent academic account--and, at the same time, most enjoyable reading for a scholarly work--on ethnic succession in organized crime. Italian and Jewish gangsters supplanted German and Irish hoods during Prohibition. The Italians outlasted the Jews and are now being supplanted by other ethnic groups. Working largely from FBI files and contemporary news accounts, Fried examines the why and how of it all, tracing Jewish organized crime from the early New York street gangs through such powerhouse mobsters as Waxey Gordon, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, the "Cleveland Four," headed by Moe Dalitz who later migrated to Las Vegas, and the legendary "Chairman of the Board," Meyer Lansky. One wishes there had been more emphasis on other Jewish mobsters such as Dutch Schultz, Jake Guzik, Charlie Birger, Kid Cann, and the Purple Gang but the rise and fall of the Jewish gangster seems to have been much the same story anyway throughout America and I don't think it's been told better anywhere.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Anyone who has looked into American 20th century "Leftist" urban politics has undoubtedly run across Albert Fried's name before. In this wonderful history, he expertly tells the story of emerging urban Jewish culture at the turn of the century and of how one segment of this culture then quickly evolved to succeed in the wilderness of the Lower East Side, Manhattan. All of the major gangster figures are covered in detail and a number of "lesser known" gangsters (to those who are not as expert in this subject) are revealed to have been important local figures in their day, as well as meaningful players in a larger coherent socio-political story. I emphasize "story" because to me that is what this book really is: Fried clearly has a passion for his subject and his city and as a result, the book reads like a wise Jewish grandfather passing down his legends. Anyone with an interest in gangster culture, its relationship to local, state and national politics, the history of New York City, and/or the history of American Judaism as developed through the New York Secular movement MUST read this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ozzie on January 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I learned alot reading this book about the small time crooks and the dangerous mobsters of Jewish background, as well as the non-Jewish mafia who worked with and against them. A piece of Jewish history that is not always discussed-the rampant prostitution and betting in the Lower East Side and the opportunity that Prohibition created for those who made a business of crime. Fascinating!
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