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The Jews of Sing Sing Hardcover – June 1, 2008


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The Jews of Sing Sing + 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

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569803331
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569803332
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By V. Sibirsky on July 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books about the various gangsters (Jewish or other) who served time in Sing Sing. What makes this particular book unique is that it is born out of Ron Aron's personal interest in this subject. The hook is that he unearths the dark secret in his own family that his grandfather served time at Sing Sing. His grandfather's story is revealed slowly by interspersing his story with chapters devoted to other Jewish prisoners. I admit I couldn't wait to find out the whole story and I read the three chapters devoted to Isaac Spier first.

The book is painstakingly researched. The writing style is fluid and engaging.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jim Martin on August 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good job by the author here! Firstly --- you must take your hat off regarding the tremendous undertaking it was to create this book. Ron Arons is like Sherlock Holmes trying to hunt down the facts... What a beautiful conclusion to the amount of time and effort that went in to such a project. I would like to mention 3 points in this text that I didn't know previously and because of this, I found particularly interesting...

Prostitution:
Before this book, I had no idea that Jews were so involved in prostitution. They were not only involved but maintained deep control in this particular racket. You further learn that the Jews involvement in prostitution dates back `150 years' to the old countries in Eastern Europe (200 out of 289 brothels were run by Jews). I think we call that a stronghold! The book also mentions "Jewish Pimp" --- when did you ever think those 2 words would be in the same sentence? Moreover, they also created an organization here in NYC which dominated prostitution (with the help of Tammany Hall, naturally). Lastly, of the 181 NY hotels used for prostitution, 45% were Jewish or German - WOW...

Jewish Organizations:
Amazingly in the same chapter, the book discusses many Jewish organizations which were founded to help Jews in distress. They had many agencies including: the National Desertion Bureau which assisted women whose husbands abandoned their families, another called the JPA (Jewish Prisoners Association) to provide food and entertainment to inmates through properly selected rabbis on holidays. Also, because there were many juveniles getting into trouble, certain Jewish families founded the 1st all Jewish Reformatory in Westchester County, NY. And there were plenty more administrations founded too...
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By G. Fein on July 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Thanks to Ron, my grandfather's life has finally been told truthfully. The chapter on Dopey Benny Fein was fantastic as was the entire book. I'm glad I had the opportunity to help Ron with this chapter, and to meet him.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marcia O. Kaplan on July 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a former New Yorker, I thought I was pretty savvy; but I had no clue that there was such a vibrant Jewish criminal population. Ron Arons opened my eyes, big time! The book is a great read and I am glad that MY grandfathers are not in there.
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More About the Author

Ron Arons has researched the lives of criminals for more than a decade. His first book, The Jews of Sing Sing, based on years of research, provided new insights into the magnitude and scope of Jewish criminality in New York City from the late 1800s through the 1950s. In 2008 Arons discussed famous Jewish gangsters of Manhattan's Lower East Side on the acclaimed PBS TV series The Jewish Americans. In 2005 Mr. Arons received a Lawrence Hackman Research Grant from the New York State Archives for his work with the repository's criminal records. Mr. Arons has given hundreds of lectures throughout the U.S and around the world on criminal research and various genealogical topics. Mr. Arons earned degrees from Princeton University and the University of Chicago. For more information about Ron, his books and his speaking engagements, visit: www.ronarons.com .