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The General: Irish Mob Boss Hardcover – February 22, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Irish charm and gangland violence come together in this engrossing biography of Dublin godfather Martin Cahill. Irish journalist Williams recounts Cahill's rise from poverty to infamy as Ireland's most notorious crime boss, dubbed "the General" for his audacious and meticulously planned robberies. Cahill was a brutal thug (he literally crucified one underling he suspected of having crossed him) but also devoted lover (to his wife and her sister), a pillar of the slum communities where he grew up, and, as his fame for his spectacular jewelry and art heists grew, something of a folk hero. Combining thorough research and well-paced storytelling, Williams brings to life Cahill's exploits, his long war of wits with the often inept Irish police, and the clannish underworld where criminal gangs, IRA commandos, Protestant paramilitaries and police officials conducted their battles on weirdly intimate terms. Along the way he paints a picture of Dublin's social transformation in the 1970s and 80s, as an epidemic of heroin and guns, fueled by the conflict in Northern Ireland, brought big-city crime to its formerly safe and sleepy streets. Blending lurid picaresque and off-hand sociological insights, this is a stylish and thoughtful addition to the true-crime canon. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Williams takes readers along on an incredible ride as he traces the rise and fall of underworld Mob boss and working-class hero Martin Cahill. Rising through the ranks in Ireland, Cahill eventually reaches beyond his native Dublin to include an international network of fences and a lucrative money-laundering scheme based in London and Manchester. Constantly outwitting and humiliating the authorities, Cahill became a legend in the 1980s, his brutality seemingly mitigated by his success and bravado. Acclaimed by the public and reviled by the police, he enjoyed a reputation and a career that could only be curtailed by the IRA. Eventually stepping on the wrong toes, Cahill became a marked man who had finally met his match. Sharing its subject with two Hollywood movies, this riveting true-crime biography truly reads like a piece of fiction. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; 1st edition (February 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765306247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765306241
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,555,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Zayas on April 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Martin Cahill, a/k/a "The General," was perhaps Ireland's most notorious gangster, a genius criminal who stole millions (in artwork, jewelry and cash) right out from under the noses of the Garda S?och?na(Irish Police.)

Paul Williams, quite adeptly, tells the humorous but ultimately tragic tale of a remorseless thief with a penchant for rather unorthodox sexual activity (he lived and fathered children with both his wife and her sister.) Like the best (or worst) gangsters and criminals memorialized in books and movies, The General's daring, outrageous behavior and wit made him a charming and sometimes even sympathetic subject. But, Williams walks the line between glorifying Cahill and showing him for what he really was, a thief whose sins caught up with him.
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Format: Paperback
Paul Williams writes about the life of Martin "the General" Cahill in a way that almost makes Cahill lovable, a late-20th century Robin Hood almost, yet is able to balance this image (that Cahill himself tried to propagate) with the fact that he was a career criminal, even to the point that he would report regularly to receive the dole while making millions illegally. Williams writes of what is known that Cahill did, what Cahill was accused of doing, what Cahill said that he did and was, and what Dubliners said that he did and was. Williams was a reporter throughout the career of the General, and so presents a journalistic tale of Martin Cahill's life that is really a captivating read.
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By Reema E. on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have seen the movie and i think it's great but reading the book was totally different. In the book you get to see the two sides of the notorious Martin Cahill. Some people thought he was the modern robbinhood, and others a dangerous criminal. Paul Williams brilliantly gives you the inside story in it's true form, excellent book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very cool story, with lots of interesting characters, a little too easy to read. The movie by the same name follows pretty true to the book, and the book had a way of feeling like I was reading a report and not a "story".
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Format: Paperback
i highly recommend the book.the author gives us a rare insight into not only his most succesful hiests($-wise).he describes cahill lesser known crimes also which provides the motive & method,being that the most enjoyable aspect is not the climax of a hiest but it's the PROCESS from start(PLANNING)to the finish (GETTING AWAY & UNPENATRABLE ALIBI).cahill is unconventualable in all aspects of his life,marriage,lifestyle,work(M.O.),etc. which keeps the law from anticipating his next move.the police incomptency is what made cahill a CRIMINAL MASTERMIND.funny,intriuing,inciteful are just a few descriptions that make the book enjoyable.
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