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The Boys in Chicago Heights:: The Forgotten Crew of the Chicago Outfit (True Crime) Paperback – October 16, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The book was a labor of love for Luzi, who spent years researching it. He conducted personal interviews, scoured history books and newspaper articles, and even milked family connections to flesh out the book's story." --Casey Toner, Southtown Star

"...I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Chicago Heights Street Crew. It not only provides a well researched history of the crew, but also explains how the boys from Chicago Heights became an important, yet little known, part of the Chicago Outfit." --Robert M. Lombardo, "Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013"

About the Author

Matthew Luzi has been pursuing true crime history in Chicago Heights for more than 25 years. He has contributed to A&E's biography of Al Capone, the History Channel's Rogue's Gallery"? program, and published works by John Binder, Jeff Thurston, and Art Bilek."
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Product Details

  • Series: True Crime
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609497333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609497330
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For years, going back to the Capone driven books in the early 1930s, the story of the Chicago Heights crew, one of the five traditional street crews in the Chicago Outfit, has been largely missing (ignored) or misunderstood in the histories of Chicago gangland--even though dozens of books about organized crime in Chicago have been written. To say it briefly but accurately, The Boys in Chicago Heights by Matthew J. Luzi very nicely solves the problem.

The book is based on Matt's research over the last two and a half decades into the Mob in the suburbs south of Chicago. In fact, it is fair to say that if any of us know anything at all about the Heights guys it is because of Matt (and another devoted investigator, Lou Corsino).

Some of Matt's research appeared previously in scholarly articles he's written or in other books (due to his generous assistance). But this is the first complete history of the Heights guys. It tells the whole story, from before Prohibition, through the violent, turbulent days of bootlegging around the Heights, the amalgamation of the gangs under Domenico aka Dominic Roberto and Jimmy Emery, the ascension of Jim Emery after Roberto was deported, the rise of Frank LaPorte, the later years dominated by Al Pilotto and Albert Tocco, and the ultimate decline of the crew. Matt's diligent archival research into the subject is enhanced by the interviews he conducted over the years with people who were VERY close to the subject, his own family history, and his wonderful, personal photo collection.

In my opinion, if you are at all interested in the history of organized crime in Chicago, you have to read this book.

John Binder
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For those interested in the history of the Chicago Mob, Al Capone, and the city of Chicago Heights, the first and only book that covers it is the most detailed and accurate history that there will probably ever be. Matt Luzi, who as a past member of the Merry Gangster Society knows his stuff and has done fine research. Luzi, who also is related to some old members of the Chicago Heights Crew, passes on to us his personal insight and never-before-published photos. "The Boys in Chicago Heights" is not only a good read for the person with a casual interest, but is an essential work for the serious researcher. He provides previously hidden facts and details on John Torrio, Al Capone, early bosses Tony Sanfilippo and Phil Piazza, and their successors in the Outfit, from Dominic Roberto, Jimmy Emery, Frank LaPorte to Albert Tocco and Al Pilotto. As someone who has been writing on and researching organized crime myself I cannot recommend this any higher. Matt Luzi has done a masterful job and I believe this book will stand the test of time.
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Cool book. Hard subject to write about, because much of the information you need-want just isn't out there. Not to mention, MUCH was kept quiet or buried on this subject. A mention of that is in the book regarding the FBI not going after organized crime hot and heavy until mid 1950s because the majority of their actions were thought to be the responsibility of local police, with the exception of the Volstead Act earlier on. Funny thing, most if not all the police were bought off or forced to look the other way back then.

VERY FEW people realize the SPAN of organized crime. Much has come and gone. Towns like Chicago Heights, Cicero, Lyons, Calumet City, and other communities in Illinois were wide open. Some still are in one way or another. This book tells you a whole other side to a story people know a bit about already- Organized Crime in Chicago and Prohibition. The way I see it, simple demand for a supply would create a need for booze. So, each town or area back in the 1920s had some kind of bootleg operation going on. Chicago Heights had an Empire that not a hell of alot of people even know about. Ditto that for Cicero, Calumet City, and etc......

Al Capone is credited for most of this subject. Truth is, he didn't act alone, and the were others like him. Others, some of whom were not even Italian were key figures at one point or another. Capone was a force to be reckoned with, and for that reason 1. He didn't get killed, and 2. It took a Long time before even the Feds could nail him. And guess what? They didn't even get him on Volstead violation, murder, bribery, or any other obvious crime he took part in. That should tell you something about the goings on of the time with politicians, police, residents, and etc.

This is a rare and special book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great read for anyone interested in true crime or the history of the Chicago Outfit. The photos provide a look back in time that was interesting and left me wanting to see more. I highly recommend Matthew Luzi's book it is a must read.
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It met all my expectations. The historical background from the growth of the Heights during it's earliest days through Prohibition were all well documented, and revealed how the Outfit gained control in the early 1900's. The old photos included throughout were an interesting source of information on how important a source of revenue to the Capone gang the Height's crew became. It was easy to read and well documented. I would recommend it highly to anyone interested in learning more about Orgainized Crime, or anybody who may have worked in law enforcement!
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