The Purple Gang: Organized Crime in Detroit 1910-1945 and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.06
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Purple Gang: Organized Crime in Detroit 1910-1945 Hardcover – January 1, 2000


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$28.23 $9.99
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The Purple Gang, a vicious group of mostly Jewish immigrants who prospered during Prohibition days in Detroit, was ruthless and untouchable for a number of years. They supplied liquor to blind pigs (establishments that sold liquor illegally), hijacked liquor shipments by land and water, watered down whiskey, and committed kidnappings, murder, and more. Toward the end of their reign, the colorful group self-destructed and started killing one another. Kavieff, an engineer at Wayne State University and a historian of organized crime, even supplies photographs of bullet-ridden bodies. But this book will be a disappointment to true-crime fans. It should have been a gripping tale of the rise and fall of organized crime in Detroit, but it lacks momentum. Each chapter starts out by recounting a gruesome crime but then meanders into related tales. Fortunately, Kavieff provides a detailed index and an extensive bibliography, which readers can use to keep the thugs straight. Recommended only as a reference/research tool for libraries with extensive organized-crime or Detroit-area history collections, though extensive typographical errors and a lack of editing should alert readers to be cautious. Karen Sandlin Silverman, Ctr. for Applied Research, Philadelphia
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Paul R. Kavieff is an engineer and historian who has devoted more than ten years to the research of crime in Detroit. He resides in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Gold Box Deal of the Day: Up to 80% Off Fiction Favorites
Today only, more than 15 fiction favorites are up to 80% off on Kindle. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books; First Edition edition (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569801479
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569801475
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

I would recommend it to any adult.
Sherri Morris
This book was allowed to be released with so many printing errors that it distracts the reader almost completely.
David G. French
It is obvious that Mr. Kavieff has a great knowledge of the Purple Gang and the Detroit underworld.
dbur

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By RDtoo VINE VOICE on February 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As another reviewer pointed out, this is an important book because it is the only book on the Purple Gang. How this gang has escaped serious study is beyond me. Growing up in the Detroit area their name has popped up over the years many many times, as some oldtimer recollects or a house that once was a Purple Gang hideout is bulldozed, stuff like that. One time in the Detroit Public Library I went into the history room and they asked for my ID and I jokingly said, "what do you think I am in the Purple Gang or something?" The guy who asked laughed and said "funny you should say that. A writer has been trying to research the Purple Gang, and is having a hell of a time. It seems like most of the police files on them have somehow disappeared". I cannot vouch for that info, but I suppose that it was the author of this book that was doing the research and maybe that explains why there is so little info available. For that reason alone, despite the grammatical errors that others found annoying, I give it 5 stars. I found it a fascinating read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rick "Mad Dog" Mattix on October 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I eagerly awaited Paul Kavieff's The Purple Gang and in some ways it was worth the wait. It's certainly the best book written on this notorious gang but mainly because it's the only one. There's a lot of good background info on the gang and some great photos. Because of this, unlike some reviewers, I won't quibble about the writing style and the typos. I read the book from cover to cover and this did not bother me in the slightest. One thing I, as a fellow crime historian, found highly annoying, though, and which detracts from Kavieff's obvious research, is his vagary on dates. A serious history providing otherwise detailed accounts of murders or other events should not begin with "one fateful day in 1923" or "early in 1933." Times, places, etc. are given in detail but dates are maddeningly few in this book on the sordid side of Detroit's history. The latter phrase, leading into the murders of Purple Gangsters Abe Axler and Ed Fletcher, is also way off. Axler and Fletcher were slain on November 26, 1933, certainly not early in the year. Many crime historians also wonder if there may have been a connection between their killings and that of Verne Miller, triggerman in the Kansas City Massacre, who was also slain in Detroit just three days later. These three homicides were heavily covered in the Detroit press at the time and it's a wonder Kavieff didn't delve into this further. The Purples' alleged connection to the St. Valentine's Day Massacre is also highly doubtful. It's a worthwhile book for crime historians and deserving of a second edition but with considerable rewrite.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Berk on August 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book probably contains more information on the individuals comprising the organization commonly known as The Purple Gang than any other single source. In addition to being informative, it effectively de-mythologizes and de-romanticizes the characters involved, and reveals them for what they really were, vicious, violent, and evil men. The one downside in the book is that the prose leaves something to be desired, and I discovered a number of grammatical errors, which were somewhat disconcerting. But for that, I would have considered this a five, rather than a four-star book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Was on December 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After hearing an interview with the author on a local radio show I couldn't wait to buy this book.
I live in Hamtramck, less than a mile from where the Purples got their start, and I was hoping for a definitive chronicle of their rise and fall, with names, dates and locations that I could relate to. Instead, I got an extended, poorly-edited outline that begged for more detailed and specific exposition.
While I don't regret my purchase I was sorely disappointed and sincerely hope that Mr. Kavieff will expand his research and revise the book with the assistance of a more competent editor and publisher. I also strongly recommend he read Lowell Cauffiel's "Masquerade" for pointers on how to write a masterful tale of the Detroit underbelly.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I agree with the review above. The treatment of the subject matter was anecdotal and superficial. However, I could have lived with that, had the book been more readable on a literary level. Shame on the editor for letting this book be printed in the shape it was. The typos, redundancies and grammatical mistakes were so distracting that I almost didn't finish the book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Edelman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you'e ever wondered exactly what it is that a book editor does, read this volume and discover what happens when a book goes directly to print without any editing, proofreading or even spellchecking. The result is a confused jumble of facts, so poorly organized that the reader has trouble simply trying to figure out the sequence of events described.
Beyond the many spelling and punctuation errors (the author needs a serious tutorial on how to use apostrophes)and the hideous typeface are hundreds of confused descriptions and misuses of words that leave the reader not only confused, but occasionally laughing out loud. Consider the description of Hyman Altma. Having described him as a man who stood 5'8" and weighed 200 lbs, Kavieff goes on to say of this rather short man "Because of his formidable stature..." In a number of sections, the same sentence is repeated two or three times- which makes the reader wonder if even the author had given it a final reading before sending it off to his publisher.
This mess of a book has one redeeming feature- Kavieff has assembled a very complete and fascinating history of the Purple gang. That's if you can manage to read it, and at least two people I know couldn't. Caveat Emptor.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews