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And All the Saints: A Novel Hardcover – February 19, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

By turns fascinating and familiar, Walsh's third novel (after Exchange Alley and As Time Goes By) is a fictionalized account of the life of Owen Madden, the so-called "Irish Godfather," who became an organized crime giant during the Prohibition years, running in the same circles as Al Capone, Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano. The chapters describing Madden's early childhood in Leeds and his impoverished family's immigration to New York are boilerplate, but the story picks up considerably when Madden begins his life of crime at age 10, joining a local Irish gang in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan. Monk Eastman, a Jewish Tammany Hall boss with criminal operations on the Lower East Side, takes Madden under his wing and teaches him the business. Madden starts selling beer during Prohibition and makes a killing, though a few stints in jail and a duel with his best friend and beer-selling rival Dutch Schultz cramp his style a bit. Walsh saves his best material for the end, when Franklin Roosevelt turns up the heat on Madden during his presidential campaign, vowing to crack down on corruption. Walsh spices up the novel with cameo appearances by George Raft, Jack Johnson, Duke Ellington and Lena Horne, though these scenes are sometimes little more than opportunities for name-dropping. The subplot about Madden's attempts to keep his louche buddies away from his sister, May, is lifeless, but the novel is saved by a crisp, compelling finale. In all, a lively slice of gangster life, though the novel's weak spots make this a slower read than it should be.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Walsh, author of As Time Goes By (1998) and Exchange Alley (1997), offers a compelling novel in the guise of the autobiography of Irish gangster Owen ("Owney") Madden, raised in New York's infamous Hell's Kitchen (though born of lrish parents in England). Early on, Madden set his mind on becoming the first among the gangsters and, thus, to have the city at his feet. In the age of Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Dutch Schultz, Meyer Lansky, and Frank Costello, Madden carved out a turf that included ownership of the famed Cotton Club. A major influence with Tammany Hall and even Hollywood (he was one of Mae West's lovers and was responsible for George Raft's success), Madden later devoted his "talents" to making Hot Springs, Arkansas, a major center of gangsterism. By allowing Madden to present his own tale, Walsh offers an unusual perspective of one man's lifetime pursuit to be the best gangster of all. Fittingly, Walsh's novel is reminiscent of Roddy Doyle's novel A Star Called Henry (1999), a first-person narrative of a fictionalized underground figure. Allen Weakland
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; 1St Edition edition (February 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446518158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446518154
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,644,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In 1892 Leeds, England Owney Madden was born to Irish parents who decided to cross the Atlantic and make their fortune in New York. However, Owney's dad died before he left the British Isles, but his mother went ahead with their dream. Accompanied by her three children, she moves to New York's Hell's Kitchen.
By the time Owney turned ten, he belonged to the Gophers, an intimating Irish gang. His prime lesson in Hoodlum 101 was that the real money existed in politics. So he turned to Jewish gang leader and Tammany Hall big shot Monk Eastman as his mentor. Advancing to Hoodlum 201 and 301, Owney learned the art of a well-placed bribe and what to do when the heat became too hot. He was involved with bootlegging during Prohibition and later turned to show business. Ultimately even after the Feds gave him an advanced lesson on closing the books, Owney cut a few last deals before moving to Hot Springs, Arkansas where he died in 1964.
This biographical fiction blends the known facts of Madden's life with delightful period vernacular and tidbits into a strong account of one of the more famous twentieth century gangsters. Readers who enjoy tales like the Untouchables or Scarface will want to read Michael Walsh's fast moving story that is so loaded one must keep saying this is fiction as it seems as if the author interviewed and quoted the gangster. Where is Robinson or Raft with Mae West to play herself because this character and book will fascinate the audience including Hollywood.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"And All the Saints" is a superior true crime tale, tightly wrapped up in a semi-fictional autobiography. The subject is Owney Madden (a.k.a. "The Killer", a.k.a. "The Duke of the West Side"). Madden was the last of the great Irish-American gangsters and had a long career, whose high point was the New York City of the 20s and 30s. Author Walsh discovered some of Owney's papers / ledgers, constructed the bio and artfully stirred in some blatant "writers license". The result is a realistically resonating story. The first person narrative is the argot of a hardened hood. Think of a good actor/actress who maintains a foreign accent throughout a film. (Do not think, for example, of Julia Roberts' performance in "Michael Collins"). The scope of AAS is broad indeed, making it hard to write a concise review. OM ran with the major bad guys of the early to mid- 20th century: Luciano, Costello, Lansky, Diamond and even Capone are all here. He owned Harlem's famous Cotton Club, discovering Duke Ellington and Lena Horne. He controlled politicians and boxers and helped form the initial Crime "Commission". Madden's range of contacts borders on the breathtaking. As stated above, AAS is written in the authentic-sounding idiom- full of pithy and cynical comments on life in the raw. This reviewer was born in Hells Kitchen-Owney's turf-and AAS captures that halcyon Irish -American scene. Also, a sliver of the old neighborhood still exists! Saint Michael's Church and Owney's apartment house at 440 West 34th Street are still standing. AAS is highly recommended; the only reservation is to its' very "New York"- especially Irish New York- milieu. That is enough to warrant the subtraction of a star. Even so, one wonders why a movie studio has failed to snap AAS up.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Owney Madden's first experience with crime occured on a beautiful autumn day when a young thug literally stole the family's dinner right from his mother's hand. Owney decides right then and there that no one will ever steal from him again.
This compelling fictionalized autobiography reveals the life of infamous Irish gangster Owen Madden. In 1902, at the age of ten, his impoverished family sets sail for New York City, minus his father who died from an injury sustained in a boxing match before their ship sailed from England.
Young Owney soon joins up with Jewish Tammany boss, Monk Eastman. Monk is fond of him and the two become almost inseparable. He takes Owney under his wing and begins to teach him "the trade."
In true gangster lingo and style, Owney works his way up through the ranks of the mob, planning one day to be at the top himself. The ruthless Madden takes care of his mother, younger brother and sister while pursuing and cultivating his life of crime. He escapes to the rooftops of their tenement building where he tenderly cares for his pigeons, but also uses these birds to practice how to quickly kill something painlessly.
Owney soon begins to rub elbows with some of the most notorious gangsters. In his 30's, Madden gets sent "up the river" to Sing Sing Prison, where he continues to make new contacts and also pursues his business dealings. Prohibition presents a blessing to Owney, who becomes a brewing king once out prison.
He buys his own clubs so he can control what and who will enter. He owns and turns the famous Cotton Club in Harlem into the best club of its time.
Owney also hires and makes famous singers and actresses like Lena Horn, Valentino, Joe Lewis, Mae West and George Raft. Duke Ellington also begins his career in Owney's Cotton Club.
Read more ›
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