4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating history of a little known subject,
This review is from: Noir Afloat: Tony Cornero and the Notorious Gambling Ships of Southern California (Hardcover)
If you're even the least bit interested in the history of Southern California, or gangsters, or gambling, or ships, then I definitely recommend this book. The author has clearly done a LOT of research, and the book is chock full of photos and graphics. It's a very handsome volume. My only quibble with it (and why I only gave it 4 stars) is that the author chose to organize the book by the story of each different ship, instead of as an overall history. Thus, the impact of the events involving one ship on another only become clear after you've read 2/3 of the book, because with each ship, you have to go back in time to its origin and follow it through its demise. The first half of the book deals with Tony Cornero, certainly the most interesting character and the most honorable of these "entrepreneurs." His exploits and dealings with the law are very entertaining. However, because of the book's structure, it's not clear why the authorities are so hellbent on going after him; this only becomes clear after reading the 2nd half, which deals with the truly despicable racketeers who would beat up (and kill) people if they won too much, thus demonstrating to the public that the ships really were dangerous. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it wholeheartedly.